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How to Easily Embed Videos in WordPress Blog Posts


Do you want to embed videos in your WordPress blog posts? Videos bring life to your website, and they are a great way to increase user engagement.

WordPress makes it super easy to embed videos from video hosting sites like YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, Twitter, and many others.

In this beginner’s guide, we will show you how to easily embed videos in WordPress blog posts, pages, and sidebar widgets.

How to easily embed videos in WordPress

How to Embed Videos in WordPress Blog Posts and Pages

WordPress comes with a great feature called auto-embeds which allows your website to automatically get the embed code from popular video hosting services like YouTube, Vimeo, etc.

All you need to do is paste the video URL into the WordPress editor.

For example, you can copy the YouTube URL for a video that you want to embed.

Next, edit the WordPress post or page where you want to add the video, and simply paste the URL in the content area.

Embedding video in WordPress post editor

As soon as you paste the video URL, WordPress will fetch the embed code and display the YouTube video inside the content editor.

You can now save your post and click on the preview button to see the embedded video in your blog post.

Video embedded in a WordPress blog post

Wasn’t that easy?

After you have added the video, you can change its settings from the block toolbar and settings column on the right.

Video block toolbar and settings

You can adjust the video width, make it full-width, change alignment, and more. You can also add a caption and preserve the video’s aspect ratio on mobile devices.

WordPress can only do auto-embeds for white-listed video services. For other websites, you will still have to obtain the embed code and then paste it in your blog posts.

Here is a list of white-listed video services for auto embeds in WordPress:

  • Amazon
  • Animoto
  • Cloudup
  • CollegeHumor
  • Crowdsignal
  • Dailymotion
  • Facebook
  • Flickr
  • Hulu
  • Imgur
  • Instagram
  • Issuu
  • Kickstarter
  • Meetup.com
  • Mixcloud
  • Reddit
  • ReverbNation
  • Screencast
  • Scribd
  • Slideshare
  • SmugMug
  • Someecards
  • SoundCloud
  • Speaker Deck
  • Spotify
  • TED
  • Tumblr
  • Twitter
  • VideoPress
  • Vimeo
  • WordPress.tv
  • YouTube

If you want to add a video from a website outside this list, then you will need the full HTML embed code for the video.

Simply copy the HTML code provided by the video website and paste it inside a ‘Custom HTML’ block in the editor.

Add a custom embed code in WordPress

Embed Videos in WordPress Using Old Classic Editor

If you are still using the old WordPress classic editor, then you can embed the videos the same way.

Simply copy the URL from a video hosting service like YouTube, and paste it in the editor. If you are using the visual editor, then you will see a preview of the video.

Emedding video in old WordPress editor

However, you will not be able to use the width adjustment and other options that you can use in the new WordPress block editor.

How to Embed Videos in WordPress Sidebar Widgets

Just like a WordPress page or post, you can also embed videos in WordPress sidebar widgets.

Simply go to Appearance » Widgets page and add the ‘Text’ widget to a sidebar. See our article on how to add and use widgets in WordPress.

Inside the widget settings, you need to paste the video URL in the content area. WordPress will automatically fetch the embed code and display the video preview.

Embed videos in WordPress sidebar widget

Don’t forget to click on the ‘Save’ button to store your widget settings.

You can now visit your website to see the video embed in the WordPress sidebar widget.

Why can’t I upload the videos to WordPress?

Well you can, but we do not recommend you to do so.

Most small blogs use shared WordPress hosting accounts, and videos can take up a lot of server resources. If your video got tons of traffic, then your website is more likely to crash.

Secondly, you are missing out the traffic from YouTube users.

YouTube is not only the biggest video hosting site, but it is also the world’s second most popular search engine, and the second most popular social network right after Facebook.

If you don’t want to upload your videos to YouTube, then you can try Vimeo or DailyMotion. See our comparison of YouTube vs Vimeo to see which platform is better for your needs.

For more on this topic, take a look at our article on why you should never upload a video to WordPress.

WordPress Video Embed Plugins

By default, you don’t need to use a plugin to embed videos in WordPress. However, you may want to use plugins to improve video viewing experience on your website.

Following are a few plugins that you may want to try.

1. YouTube Subscribe Bar

YouTube Subscribe Bar in action

YouTube Subscribe Bar shows a YouTube subscribe button below your YouTube video embeds in WordPress. It also fetches your YouTube subscriber count to add social proof and encourage more users to subscribe.

We first created it to promote WPBeginner’s YouTube channel on this website. Many of our users asked us to share how we did this, so we decided to release it as a free plugin.

2. Envira Gallery

A video gallery in WordPress

By default, WordPress does not come with embedded video gallery feature. If you wanted to show a video gallery on a page, then you’ll need a plugin to do that.

Envira Gallery is one of the best photo gallery plugins for WordPress. It also comes with a videos addon which allows you to create beautiful video galleries with lightbox popup support.

3. Lazy Load for Videos

Lazy load videos in WordPress

Video embeds load scripts from external websites, which has a small impact on page load speed and performance.

Lazy Load for Videos solves this problem by only loading the video image on page load. It loads embed code only when the user clicks on the play button. See our tutorial on how to add lazy load for videos in WordPress.

We hope this article helped you learn how to easily embed videos in WordPress blog posts. You may also want to see our list of the must have WordPress plugins for all websites.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post How to Easily Embed Videos in WordPress Blog Posts appeared first on WPBeginner.



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How to Choose the Best Domain Name (11 Tips and Tools)


Choosing the right domain name for your website is crucial for your success. If you choose the wrong domain name, then it can be a hassle to switch later on without hurting your brand and search rankings.

That’s why it’s extremely important that you choose the best domain name from the start.

When first starting out, it can be hard to come up with catchy business name ideas with a perfect domain name.

In this article, we’ll share all the tools and tips you need to get domain name ideas, choose the best domain name, and register your new domain (for free).

How to Choose the Best Domain Name

11 Tips for Choosing the Best Domain Name

When starting a blog, choosing a domain name can be stressful because you don’t want to make a mistake.

To make the process easier, we have a simple 11 step framework that you can use to pick the best domain for your website.

  1. Stick with .com
  2. Use keywords in your domain name search
  3. Keep your domain name short
  4. Make it easy to pronounce and spell
  5. Keep it unique and brandable
  6. Avoid hyphens in domain name
  7. Avoid doubled letters
  8. Leave room to expand
  9. Research your domain name
  10. Use domain generators for clever ideas
  11. Act quickly before someone else takes it
  12. Best place to register a domain name
  13. Get free domain with web hosting
  14. Most popular domain registrars

Let’s take a look at these tips one by one with more details.

1. Stick with .com

Stick to the .com extension

There are plenty of new domain name extensions available today, from the original .com, .net and .org to niche extensions like .pizza, .photography, and even .blog.

We always recommend choosing a .com domain name.

While it can be tempting to come up with clever blog names using new extensions, .com is still the most established and credible domain name extension.

Newer domain extensions like .ninja or .photography can be untrustworthy.

Dot-com domains are also the most memorable. Many users, especially those who aren’t as tech-savvy, will automatically type “.com” at the end of every domain without thinking about it.

If your website is something like jane.photography, and your users accidentally type in jane.photography.com, they will end up on an error page on photography.com website.

It’s smart to avoid that risk by sticking with .com.

Not to mention, most smartphone keyboards automatically have a .com button.

2. Use Keywords in Your Domain Name Search

Keywords play an important role in a domain. By using keywords in your domain name, you tell the search engines what your website is about. Together with quality content and good user experience, keywords in your domain can help you rank higher in Google.

It is very hard to find a good domain with your target keywords, that’s not already taken.

You will need to be creative and combine your keywords with other words to make your domain stand out.

3. Keep Your Domain Name Short

While keywords are important, don’t go overboard with domain length. It’s better to have a domain name that’s short and memorable.

We recommend keeping your domain name under 15 characters. Longer domains are harder for your users to remember.

Not to mention, users will also be more prone to entering typos with longer domain names which can lead to loss traffic.

That’s why it’s a good idea to keep your domain length short.

4. Make Your Domain Name Easy to Pronounce and Spell

You should be able to easily share your domain name when speaking as well as writing. You never know when you’ll be asked to share your domain name in person.

If you’re planning to use your domain name to create a professional business email address, then it definitely should be easy to understand and spell for any listener.

5. Keep it Unique and Brandable

Your blog domain name must be unique, so you can stand out in your readers’ minds. It’s smart to research other blogs in your niche and find out what domain names they’re using.

You don’t want to accidentally use a trademark name or get accused of copying another blogger.

You can also choose to pick a domain name that’s more brandable.

Brandable domain names are unique, catchy, and memorable. For example, “Amazon.com” is a much more brandable name than “BuyBooksOnline.com.”

6. Avoid Hyphens in Domain Name

Never create a domain name with hyphens. Hyphens can be a sign of spam domains which you do not want to be associated with.

Hyphenated domains are also prone to typos. If you choose a domain name with hyphens because the domain you want is already taken, then your users will likely end up at your competitor’s site if they forget to type in the hyphen.

7. Avoid Double Letters

It’s a good idea to avoid domains with doubled letters, because it increases your chances of losing traffic to typos. For example, a domain like Presssetup.com will be more prone to typos, and result in lost traffic.

Avoiding doubled letters will also make your domain easy to type and more brandable.

8. Leave Room to Expand

It’s smart to choose a domain name that’s related to your industry / niche because it gives users some idea of what your website is about. But you also don’t want to limit your long term options too much.

For example, a florist might choose a domain name like orchidblog.com, but then they may want to start blogging about other flowers beside orchids. In that case, the domain might prevent you from attracting readers interested in other flowers.

Properly moving your site to a new domain can be a frustrating process, and it can cause you to lose search rankings if you don’t do it right. That’s why it is important to pick a flexible domain name from the start.

9. Research Your Domain Name

Before you register a domain name, try to find out if there is already a registered business using the same name.

You can perform a trademark search to see if there is already a similar or exact name already trademarked.

Research trademarks to avoid conflicting domain names

You can also perform a Google search and check for the name’s availability on top social media websites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.

A similar or matching name would not only cause confusion, but it could also have severe legal implications which may cost you a lot of money.

Once you have your own website up and running, you can learn more about how to trademark and copyright your website name and logo.

10. Use Domain Name Generators for Celever Ideas

Currently, there are more than 360 Million registered domain names. This leads to many people saying that all good domains are already taken.

Searching for individual domain name manually can be very time consuming.

This is where domain name generators come in. These free tools automatically search for your defined keywords to find hundreds of clever domain name ideas.

Nameboy domain generator tool

We recommend using Nameboy, which is one of the oldest and most popular domain name generator tool online. You can also use IsItWP’s domain generator to find more domain name ideas.

11. Act Quickly Before Someone Else Takes it

Each day thousands of new domain names are registered from all parts of the world. If you have found a domain name that you like, then don’t wait too long.

Domain names are like real estate. Thousands of people are actively looking for good brandable domain names that they can register for better rates in the future.

If you don’t act fast, then someone may go ahead and register your domain idea.

Since domain names are relatively cheap, we always recommend our readers to act fast. If you change your mind later, then you can simply let it expire.

Best Places to Buy a Domain Name

How to register your own domain name and how to get one for free

There are hundreds of domain registrars on the web. It’s important to choose carefully because it can be difficult to move your domain later on.

Just like with web hosting, pricing for domain registrations can vary anywhere from $9 to $24. You can even get it for free*.

Let’s take a look at how you can easily buy a domain name.

Free Domain Registration with Web Hosting

Majority of web hosting companies also offer domain registration as a service. Some of those companies offer free domain registration with new hosting accounts.

If you’re starting a new website, then it’s a smart idea to take advantage of this offer and get your domain name for free.

Below are the two WordPress hosting companies that are offering our users over 60% off web hosting, free SSL certificate, and a free domain name:

Bluehost is one of the oldest and largest brand name when it comes to web hosting. They’re an official “WordPress” recommended hosting provider.

iPage powers over 1 million websites and is the most budget-friendly web hosting provider on the web. $1.99 / month for web hosting, and you get a free domain name.

It’s important to keep in mind that most hosts offer free domain registrations for 1 year only. After the first year, your domain registration will renew at usually around $14 per year.

A lot of users take advantage of the free domain for the first year because you would have to pay for the domain name regardless, why not get it for free.

Most Popular Domain Registrars

If you just want to register a domain name without purchasing hosting, then you can do that by purchasing it from a domain name registrar.

Domain.com is one of the best domain registrars on the market. They offer all top-level domain names, with a smart search feature, premium domains, and all the necessary tools to manage your domain names.

Search for domain name on Domain.com

Domain.com is offering WPBeginner readers a 25% discount, and our domain.com coupon should be automatically applied on your purchase.

GoDaddy is the largest domain registrar in the world. They manage over 63 million domain names for over 14 million customers.

They also offer web hosting plans as well. If you use our GoDaddy coupon code, then you can get a free domain name.

Final Thoughts

If you are starting a blog for the first time, then you may find our ultimate guide on how to start a WordPress blog helpful because it walks you through everything step by step.

You may also want to check out our WordPress and Blogging Coupons page to find the best deal on other web tools and services.

For more domain name ideas, you can see our post on the 14 best free domain name generators.

That’s all. We hope this article helped you understand how to choose a perfect domain name for your blog or business.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.



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Wix vs WordPress – Which One is Better? (Pros and Cons)


Are you trying to decide between Wix vs WordPress to build your website? While WordPress is the most popular website builder in the world, it is not the only option.

After seeing TV commercials for Wix, some of our users asked us to do a detailed comparison of Wix vs WordPress to find out which is the better choice.

In this article, we will compare Wix vs WordPress and highlight the pros and cons. Our hope is that with this Wix review and comparison, you will be able to decide which platform is right for your needs.

Wix vs WordPress - Which one is a better platform

Note: This article compares Wix vs Self Hosted WordPress.org NOT WordPress.com. See the difference between self-hosted WordPress.org vs WordPress.com sites.

We have broken down this comparison into 7 categories:

  1. Wix vs WordPress costs
  2. Ease of use comparison
  3. Design options in Wix vs WordPress
  4. Plugins and apps
  5. Wix vs WordPress – Which one is better for blogging?
  6. Ecommerce comparison
  7. Data portability

Let’s see how Wix and WordPress stack up into each of these categories.

1. Pricing and Costs

The cost of building a website is an important factor when choosing your site builder platform. The total costs of developing and maintaining your site will entirely depend on your needs. Our goal is to make sure that you can do whatever you need within your budget.

Let’s compare the pricing of Wix and WordPress to find out which one gives you more bang for the buck.

Wix:

Wix offers a basic website builder for free. However, there are two major downsides to it. First, it adds Wix branded advertisements on the top and bottom of your website. Second, you cannot use a custom domain name for your site, so your website address will be: username.wix.com/sitename

Apart from that, the basic plan does not offer necessary add-ons such as Google Analytics, Favicons, eCommerce, etc. To remove ads and get additional features from their apps market, you’ll have to upgrade to one of the premium plans they offer.

Each Wix premium plan has different storage and bandwidth limitations. You can pay monthly or choose a yearly plan.

Wix premium plans

The best value plans on Wix is the Unlimited plan ($12.50 / month), and if you want an eCommerce store, then you need the eCommerce plan ($16.50 / month).

This cost does not include any apps that you later choose to buy from the Wix app market to use on your website.

WordPress:

The WordPress software is open source, and it is available for free for anyone to use.

We often get asked about why is WordPress free and what’s the catch?

Well, the biggest catch is that you need your own domain name and web hosting to install it. There are several WordPress hosting providers that you can choose from. See our guide on how to choose the best WordPress hosting company.

Depending on your budget, you can start with a basic plan with a WordPress hosting provider like Bluehost that will cost you $2.75 per month and includes a free custom domain name.

If your budget permits, then you can use a managed WordPress hosting provider like WP Engine which costs $29 per month.

The cost of a WordPress site will increase if you decide to use premium WordPress themes or plugins (similar to apps in WordPress).

However, there are thousands of free WordPress themes and plugins available that you can use to reduce costs. You can add any feature to your WordPress site using a plugin without upgrading your hosting plan.

For more information, see our guide on how much does it cost to build a WordPress site.

Conclusion:

WordPress beats Wix with flexible plans available from a variety of web hosting companies. The cost depends on how much resources you use, and you are free to use your WordPress site in any way you want.

2. Ease of Use

Most beginners choose Wix or WordPress because they don’t want to hire a website designer. Both Wix and WordPress allow you to create websites without learning to code.

Wix:

Wix comes with powerful and easy to use tools to build your own website. It offers a simple drag and drop interface where you can select any element on your site and start editing it in a WYSIWYG interface.

Wix Editor

You can drag and drop items anywhere on your site, rearrange things on your pages, write content, and add media in a user-friendly environment. Many beginners would find this feature a blessing as it saves them from dealing with code.

WordPress:

WordPress comes with a visual editor to write your content, and a theme customizer which allows you to edit your theme properties in a WYSIWYG environment. However, by default WordPress does not come with a built-in drag and drop page builder.

WordPress post editor

To get the full control of the appearance, users will have to familiarize themselves with different sections like navigation menus, customizer, visual post editor, etc. This means that WordPress requires a small learning curve for beginners.

On the other hand, there are thousands of themes that make customization really easy.

Conclusion:

Wix is clearly the winner here. Users don’t need to spend much time to learn the platform or install any plugins before they can start building their website. On the other hand, they will need to understand WordPress basics and may need to install plugins to build their site.

However you can use powerful WordPress page builder plugins like BeaverBuilder or Divi that offers a lot more powerful features than the Wix builder.

This is why smart business owners use WordPress because it offers them greater flexibility.

3. Design and Layout

Your site’s design and layout play an important role in your success. Every site owner needs a design that’s not only good looking, but also user-friendly and makes their brand stand-out.

Wix:

Wix comes with more than 500+ pre-made templates to choose from. All Wix designs are fully responsive and written in HTML5. Using the built-in tools, you can further customize your site design, change the layout, and rearrange items as you see fit.

Wix Templates

There are designs available for every kind of site. Templates are divided into categories like business, eCommerce, hobbies, arts & crafts, personal, etc.

One big disadvantage is that once you have selected a template, you cannot change it. You can modify it and customize it as much as you want using only the built-in tools, but you cannot switch to another template.

WordPress:

There are thousands of free and paid themes available for WordPress. Free themes come with limited support, but they also go through a strict review process. Paid themes generally offer more features and come with premium support options.

WordPress themes

WordPress themes range from small personal sites to full-fledged eCommerce sites. Most themes come with built-in customization options of their own. You can also use one of the many styling plugins to further style or customize your WordPress themes.

Users can download free themes from WordPess.org directory. For paid themes, there are several WordPress theme shops like Themify, CSSIgniter, StudioPress, and more. See our list of the best commercial WordPress theme shops.

Furthermore, you can hire a developer or learn to create a completely custom theme for your company.

Conclusion:

WordPress has a much larger range of themes and design layouts than Wix. WordPress users can also easily switch themes or customize them as much as they want without any restrictions.

4. Plugins and Apps

Plugins and Apps are third-party extensions that you can use with your platform to add more features. Wix calls them apps, and in WordPress ecosystem, they are called plugins.

Let’s compare apps and plugins available on both platforms and what you can do with them.

Wix:

Wix comes with nearly 200+ apps that you can add to your site. These apps offer a wide range of features like adding contact forms, gallery, comments, social media buttons, email marketing and so on.

Wix App Marketplace

Most apps are free or have a lite version. Other apps require monthly payments and vary in prices. Even though there is a limited collection of apps, they cover most commonly requested features by site owners.

WordPress:

At the time of writing this article, there are more than 55,000+ free plugins available in the WordPress.org plugin directory alone. Not to mention, premium plugins available on other marketplaces.

WordPress plugins

The saying goes: if you can think of a feature, there’s probably a WordPress plugin that makes it happen.

Whether you want to create a contact form, install Google Analytics, build a membership website, or sell online courses, there’s a plugin for that.

You can do just about anything you like with WordPress. There are plenty of plugins both free and paid which you can use to build a website of your dreams.

Conclusion:

WordPress easily beats Wix in this area as well. Even though Wix’s app library is growing, it is still limited in comparison to the huge choice available to WordPress users.

5. Wix vs WordPress – Which one is better for blogging?

Many users are looking for an easier platform to start blogging. Wix and WordPress both can be used to create blogs. Let’s take a look at which one does it better.

Blogging with Wix

Wix allows you to easily add a blog section to your website. It has all the basic blogging features you’ll commonly use. For example, categories and tags, photo and videos, archives, etc.

Wix blog editor

However, it does not have a native commenting system like WordPress. Instead, it uses Facebook comments and those comments are not portable.

It also lacks several features like featured images, backdating posts, creating private posts, and more.

The writing interface for blog posts is not the same as Wix website builder. Instead, it uses a plain text editor which is very limited in terms of formatting options.

Blogging with WordPress

WordPress started out as a blogging platform and evolved into a full-blown website builder. Today it powers nearly 33% of all websites.

It has all the blogging features you will need like a native commenting system and all other advanced features that are missing from Wix.

Editing blog posts in WordPress

It comes with the powerful Gutenberg block editor which allows you to create beautiful layouts for your blog posts.

Most importantly, you can extend your blog using plugins and add any feature that you can think of.

Conclusion

WordPress totally outshines Wix as a blogging platform. Wix blogs are too basic and lacks several important features. If you are thinking about starting a blog, then Wix doesn’t even come close to WordPress.

6. Wix vs WordPress Ecommerce Comparison

Selling things online is another important feature that most beginners look for. Let’s see how WordPress and Wix compare in eCommerce.

Wix:

Wix offers eCommerce with their paid plans. This means users with the free plan cannot run their eCommerce store on Wix without upgrading to a paid plan. With the WixStores, you can only accept payments using PayPal or Authorize.net.

There are a few third-party apps that you can use for selling things online, but those apps would cost you even more money with their monthly fees. Not to mention you have limited payment gateways and functionality.

WordPress:

WordPress makes it super easy to create your online store using WooCommerce, which powers more than 42% of all ecommerce websites in the world.

There are also plenty of other eCommerce plugins available for WordPress that you can use to sell physical or digital goods, services, events, subscriptions, and more.

Most eCommerce plugins for WordPress even have their own dedicated themes and add-on plugins. See our list of best WooCommerce themes for some excellent examples.

Conclusion:

If you want to build a proper online store and be ready for growth, then WordPress + WooCommerce offers much more flexibility, freedom, and choices when compared to Wix.

7. Data Portability Options in Wix vs WordPress

Data portability allows you the freedom to move your content away when you need it. Let’s take a look at how Wix and WordPress help you move your content away if you need.

Data portability options in Wix

Wix comes with very limited options to move your content to another platform. You can only export your blog posts in XML format. You’ll have to manually download your pages, images, videos, and other content.

According to Wix documentation, all your content is hosted exclusively on Wix’s servers and cannot be exported elsewhere.

This makes it a bit difficult to move your content to another platform if needed. However, you can still transfer a Wix site. See our article, on how to switch from Wix to WordPress for more details.

Data portability options in WordPress

WordPress makes it extremely easy to export your content. It comes with a one-click exporter that allows you to download your content in XML format.

Exporting your WordPress site

Since it is a self-hosted platform, you can also create complete WordPress backups, download your media files, and even manually export your WordPress database.

You can then easily move your WordPress site to a new host if you are not satisfied with your current WordPress hosting company.

Conclusion:

WordPress is a lot better when it comes to downloading and moving your data. Wix, on the other hand, makes it quite difficult to move your content away.

Summary

WordPress is far superior to Wix as a web publishing platform for any kind of website. While Wix offers an easy to use website builder, you can accomplish a lot more with WordPress over the long run.

See our guide on how to make a website using WordPress for step by step instructions.

We hope this article helped you compare Wix vs WordPress and learn their pros and cons. You may also want to see our actionable tips on driving traffic to your new WordPress site.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post Wix vs WordPress – Which One is Better? (Pros and Cons) appeared first on WPBeginner.



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5 Best Contact Form Plugins for WordPress Compared


Are you looking to add a contact form on your WordPress site? Not sure which one of the 1625+ WordPress contact form plugins to use? In this article, we have hand-picked the 5 best contact form plugins for WordPress and compared their pros and cons, so you can easily add a contact form in WordPress.

Best WordPress Contact Form Plugins

1. WPForms

WPForms is the most beginner friendly WordPress contact form plugin. We use it on WPBeginner and all of our other websites. WPForms is built by the same team as WPBeginner with a single goal: Make a WordPress forms plugin that’s both easy and powerful.

WPForms Best WordPress Contact form plugin

Pros

WPForms’ drag & drop online form builder makes it the most user-friendly form plugin for WordPress.

WPForms Lite is available for free in the official WordPress plugin directory meaning you can install it on as many sites as you like for free.

The free version comes with all the basic contact form features including basic form fields, captcha for spam protection, email notifications, and a thank-you page for form confirmation.

The premium version allows you to extend the functionality, so you can build any type of forms such as multi-page forms, email subscription forms, payment forms, order forms, and more.

WPForms pro also comes with other powerful form fields and features like smart conditional logic, file upload, geo-location, signature feature, form abandonment, user-submitted content (post submissions), login and user registration for WordPress, and over 150+ pre-made form templates.

You can see all your form submissions right inside your WordPress dashboard as well as get customized email notifications. You can even setup conditional notifications, so the right person in your team gets notified.

WPForms surveys & polls addon is by far the best WordPress survey solution in the market. It comes with interactive survey reports, real-time polls for WordPress, and all smart survey fields like star ratings, likert scale, NPS, etc.

They also have a form landing page solution to help you create distraction-free form pages in WordPress.

WPForms integrates with all popular email marketing and payment platforms. There are documentation and guides available along with email support to help you when you need it.

WPForms is being used by over 1 million websites and have built quite a loyal following (See: WPForms user reviews).

Cons

While the lite version is free, you need to upgrade to Pro to unlock more powerful features.

Even though WPForms is powerful, the #1 goal of this plugin is to make it user friendly. That’s why it doesn’t have the more complex features that some other form plugins offer.

WPBeginner users can use this WPForms coupon that will give you 50% off the premium version of WPForms.

Get WPForms Pro Now »

Alternatively, you can start with WPForms Lite for Free.

2. Formidable Forms

Formidable Forms is the most advanced WordPress form plugin in the market. They specialize in helping developers build complex form-focused solutions quickly.

Formidable Forms Advanced WordPress form plugin

Pros

Formidable is an all-in-one WordPress form builder that comes with powerful addons to help you go beyond simple contact forms.

You can use Formidable drag and drop interface to create advanced forms like quizzes, surveys, payment forms, registration forms, profile forms, and more.

Advanced users will really love the Formidable Views feature because it allows you to format, filter, and display user-submitted data on the front-end of your website. You can use it to create form-focused solutions like directories, job board listings, event calendars, management systems, rating systems, and more.

You can use Formidable’s advanced calculation fields to create powerful order forms as well as smart calculators like Mortgage calculator, car payment calculator, request a quote calculator, and more.

Formidable integrates with all popular email marketing and payment platforms.

They also have a powerful WooCommerce integration to help you build product forms and even WooCommerce product configurator forms that ties directly to your cart.

Cons

Formidable form builder is not as intuitive as WPForms because they focus on advanced users and developers.

But it makes up for it by being the most extendable form solution in the market. If you’re a developer or agency looking to build form-based solutions or data-driven web applications, then nothing in the market comes close to Formidable Forms.

3. Gravity Forms

Gravity Forms is a paid WordPress form builder plugin that comes with a lot of advanced functionality and features. They also specialize in helping developers build complex form related solutions.

Gravity Forms WordPress form plugin

Pros

Gravity Forms is a powerful drag and drop contact form plugin for WordPress.

With the help of additional add-ons, Gravity Forms can be used to create surveys, quizzes, user submitted content, and even web directory.

It comes with premium support options like FAQs, knowledge base, forums, and email support. This means that help is available when you need it.

Cons

Gravity forms does not have a free version, so it can be a bit expensive than other WordPress contact form plugins. However, if you are using it on multiple sites and projects, then the cost should not be a big deal.

4. Ninja Forms

Ninja Forms is a freemium contact form plugin for WordPress. It can be used to create highly interactive form with very little effort.

Ninja Forms WordPress Form Creation Plugin

Pros

The base plugin for Ninja Forms is available for free from the official WordPress repository. This means you can download and install it on as many sites as you like.

There are premium extensions which allow you to extend Ninja Forms functionality such as connecting with Campaign Monitor, Freshbooks, Salesforce, SMS notifications, etc.

There is a helpful community support option, as well as documentation, guides, and email support.

Cons

Even though the main plugin is available for free, the extensions are not. Buying two or more extensions or even the developer bundle will cost you nearly the same amount as WPForms or Formidable Forms.

5. Contact Form 7

Although we don’t recommend Contact Form 7, this list cannot be complete without the oldest and most downloaded contact form plugin in the official WordPress plugin directory.

Contact Form 7 Free WordPress Contact Form Plugin

Pros

Price is probably the most important advantage of using Contact Form 7. You are free to install it on as many sites as you want.

Although if you’re looking for a free WordPress form plugin, then WPForms Lite, Formidable Forms, and Ninja Forms are all significantly better solutions than Contact Form 7.

There are several third-party plugins that act as add-on plugins for Contact Form 7. Most of them are available for free.

Cons

Contact Form 7 is a below-average solution for creating a basic contact form for your blog. It is very difficult to set up for absolute beginners. The user interface is not intuitive at all.

Since it is a free plugin, support options are limited.

There are several third-party add-ons available for Contact Form 7, but the official plugin website doesn’t have an add-ons directory which makes it difficult to find add-ons to extend the functionality of the base plugin.

Which is the Best Contact Form Plugin for WordPress?

The plugins we mentioned in this article can all help you create a contact form plugin. However deciding the best WordPress form builder plugin varies based on your needs.

If you’re a beginner and don’t want to spend any money, then go with WPForms Lite.

If you’re a business owner and want to create powerful forms without learning code or hiring a developer, then go with the WPForms Pro version.

If you’re a developer trying to build more complex forms, then there’s no better solution than Formidable Forms.

Our overall pick for the best WordPress contact form plugin is WPForms.

We hope this guide helped you choose the best contact form plugin for your WordPress site. You may also want to take a look at our guide on the best WordPress backup plugins compared (Pros and Cons).

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

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How to Choose the Best Products to Sell Online (Beginner’s Guide)


You want to make extra money on the side, so you looked into several online business ideas and decided that creating an online store is the way to go.

The next step is where beginners often struggle the most: choosing which products to sell on your online store.

In this ultimate guide, we will explain how to easily choose the best products to sell online by following our step by step process.

Choosing products to sell online

1. Basics of Choosing Products to Sell on Your Ecommerce Store

Before you start looking into products that you can sell, there are some basics that you need to keep in mind. Let’s look at some of the most important ones first.

1. Choosing Your Ecommerce Platform

First you need to choose a platform that you want to use to sell your products.

Choosing the right eCommerce platform is important because it would affect your choice of products and how you do business.

Choosing an eCommerce platform

WooCommerce is the most popular eCommerce platform in the world. It is easy to use, and you can use it to sell all kind of products while accepting payments using multiple payment gateways. See our guide on how to start an online store to get started with WooCommerce.

However, WooCommerce is not the only platform out there. There are some great WooCommerce alternatives that could be better for you depending on what you are trying to sell.

If you lack technical skills and want a quicker way to build an online store, then you may want to look into Shopify. It is a fully hosted solution that takes care of all the technical stuff. The catch here is that you will be paying a little more, and your costs will grow as you make more sales.

For a side by side comparison, see our article on Shopify vs WooCommerce with the pros and cons of both platforms.

2. Shipping

Shipping has a huge impact on the success of an eCommerce store. A study conducted by Business Insider discovered that higher shipping costs are the #1 cause of all abandoned shopping carts online.

Shipping costs more cart abandonment

You would obviously want to select products that you can ship at lower costs or for free. If you only plan to sell digital products (music, video, software, ebook, etc), then you don’t have to worry about shipping because the products will be downloaded by customers online.

3. Inventory

Do you want to manage inventory and keep products stocked? For that, you will need storage space and inventory management through your eCommerce software. Keeping products in stock will increase your cost of business.

On the other hand, drop-shipping solves this problem. You can select products that are shipped directly by the manufacturer or supplier.

4. Price

You’ll need to find products where you can offer a competitive price to your customers. If the product you are selling is more expensive than your competitors, then obviously that would discourage many first time buyers.

2. Types of Products That You Can Sell Easily

There are many different kinds of products that you can sell in your online store. Let’s narrow them down into two major sections.

1. Commoditized Products

These are products that everyone needs and are sold by many small and large stores without any difference in quality. For example, everyday products like soap, detergent, cereal, and more.

These products are made by some of the largest brands in the retail industry and are available widely with little to no difference in price.

This makes it harder for you to compete with giants like Amazon, Walmart, Target, etc. They can offer those products at lower costs, free shipping, and other perks.

This rules out a large number of products for you.

2. Niche Products

These are products that are unique or hand-made, available in limited stocks, and from specific suppliers. Think of home-made soaps, novelty t-shirts, ceramics, gift items, software, and countless other products.

Since these products are not widely available, they give you a competitive advantage.

There are even unique platforms like Etsy stores where you can find small vendors who make beautiful products and would love to partner up with other stores.

Etsy stores

You can also find suppliers abroad using websites like AliExpress or Alibaba.com. These suppliers can make those niche products to your specifications and deliver them to you.

Niche products are available in almost any product category imaginable. You’ll find tons of unique ideas as you do your product research.

This brings us to our next tip.

3. Doing Product Research On Your Own

Don’t use your best guess to select products you sell online. Back it up with data so that you know there is a demand for these products and customers are looking for them.

The first tool you are going to use for your research is Amazon.

It is the world’s largest eCommerce store with thousands of products. Luckily, it is also a treasure trove of free data that you can scrap and make your decisions.

Go through different product categories to find out top performing products in each category. Keep narrowing down your search to sub-categories to find targeted sub-niches of products.

Let’s suppose you wanted to sell kid’s toys, narrow down your search to very specific toy categories. This excludes popular products, and you get a very focused set of products as you filter through.

Narrow down categories to find product data

Switch to the ‘Bestsellers’ view to find the top performing products on Amazon under each category.

Sort products by Bestsellers

SEMRush is another great tool that you can use to gather data from competitors or any eCommerce store you want.

SEMRush

It shows you where those eCommerce stores are getting most of their traffic, which products they are promoting through paid advertisements, what are their most viewed products, and more.

It also shows your competitor’s product listing ads from Google. You can see their best performing product listing ads, keywords, and other data.

Here are some other tools you can use to gather product data from other websites.

  • Ahrefs – A powerful competitor research tool that will show what’s popular on the websites of your competitors.
  • AdPlexity – A popular eCommerce research tool that helps you collect eCommerce data from across the web, from competitors, or any other website.
  • AmazeOwl – It is an Amazon product reseach tool available as a free desktop application.

4. Use Customer Personas to Find Product Ideas

Using customer personas to find products

A customer persona is a fictional profile of an ideal customer that you want to target. You create this profile by answering simple questions about an ideal buyer.

This is your target audience and personifying them helps you understand them better when you are doing product research.

If you have an existing store, then you can use eCommerce tracking in Google Analytics to build an ideal buyer persona.

If you are just starting out, then use your best guess to build a customer persona. This exercise helps you understand your customer’s needs, questions they may have, and what kind of products they would like to buy.

To learn more about buyer persona, see this guide on creating a concrete buyer persona with ready-made templates and examples.

5. Find Products You are Passionate About

As career advisors say, ‘Choose a job you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life’.

Similarly, choosing products that you are passionate about helps you sell them more effectively.

These could be products that you personally love and passionately recommend to your family and friends. These could be products related to a hobby or activity that you are passionate about.

Nothing drives more passion when you build something useful and want others to use it.

Following your passion allows you to look deeply into products and find ideas that offer real value to your customers.

We hope this article helped you learn how to choose the best products to sell online. You may also want to see our article on tips to grow your business online without spending a lot of money.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

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Shopify vs WooCommerce – Which is the Better Platform? (Comparison)


Are you thinking of starting an online store? Not sure whether you should use Shopify or WooCommerce?

Shopify and WooCommerce are the two top eCommerce platforms in the world each with their own pros and cons.

As a business owner, choosing the right eCommerce platform that fits your business needs is crucial for your success.

In this guide, we will show you a detailed comparison of Shopify vs WooCommerce. The goal is to break down their advantages and disadvantages to help you choose the best option for your eCommerce store.

Shopify vs WooCommerce

Since this is a detailed comparison of Shopify vs WooCommerce, here’s a quick table of content:

Overview: Shopify vs WooCommerce

Before we start with our in-depth comparison of the two most popular eCommerce platforms on the web, it’s important that we cover the basics and highlight what makes these platform stand out.

What is Shopify?

Shopify is an all-in-one eCommerce platform that makes it easy for you to create an online store, accept payments, and manage your inventory all from a single platform without ever worrying about the technical aspects of managing a website such as web hosting, security, caching, etc.

What is WooCommerce?

WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce plugin built for WordPress. It allows you to leverage the most powerful content management system (CMS) and use it to run an online store. Because of the open-source nature, you can customize every aspect of your store and easily build custom extensions.

The decision to choose between the two platforms depend entirely on your needs and skill level.

What to Look for in Your eCommerce Platform?

There are few things that you absolutely need to keep in mind when starting an online store. These key factors will help you decide which platform is better suited for your needs.

  • Budget – The initial cost of starting a fully functional ecommerce store.
  • Ease of use – It should be easy to use even for absolute beginners.
  • Payment Methods – It should have support for multiple payment methods (e.g. PayPal, Stripe, other merchant processors).
  • Integrations – Number of services and third party tools you can integrate to grow your business.
  • Scalability – The platform should be able to scale as your business grows.

These are the very basic requirements that all online store owners must consider. However, depending on your needs, you may also want to look at other options like shipping, inventory management, invoicing, taxes, dropshipping, etc.

Our goal with this article is to take an in-depth look at how Shopify and WooCommerce stand on these basic requirements, and which one of them is best suited for your needs.

Cost: Shopify vs WooCommerce

Cost is often the most important consideration for eCommerce website owners. You need to evaluate the cost of getting started while also keeping in mind the variable costs for add-on services and software.

The true cost of using Shopify

Shopify makes it super easy to start your online store. Their basic plan starts at $29 per month, and you can upgrade to the Shopify plan for $79 or the Advanced Shopify plan for $299 per month.

Shopify pricing

Each of these plans includes domain name, SSL certificate, and web hosting.

The basic plan comes with enough features to set up a new online store. You can add unlimited products, 2 user accounts, unlimited file storage, and more.

However, this pricing doesn’t include third-party tools and add-ons that you will need to take your Shopify store to the next level. As your business grows, these costs will start adding up, and you’ll soon be paying a lot more than the basic plan.

Payments are another factor that affects your costs. Shopify offers their own Shopify Payments solution which costs 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction.

If you want to use third-party payment gateways or your own merchant account, then you will be charged a flat fee of 2.0% for all transactions. You can reduce this fee to 0.5% by using the Shopify Advanced plan which costs $299 per month.

These payment processing fees are fairly steep when using external payment gateways. However, if you’re just starting out and want to use the Shopify payment solution, then the fees are fairly comparable to popular platforms like Stripe and Braintree.

The true cost of using WooCommerce

WooCommerce is an eCommerce plugin for WordPress.org (also known as self-hosted WordPress). It is open source and freely available as a WordPress plugin.

However, you’ll need a domain name, SSL Certificate, and a WordPress hosting account to start a WooCommerce store.

Typically, a domain name costs $14.99, SSL Certificate costs $69.99, and web hosting around $7.99 / month. This is not cheap, particularly when you are just starting out.

Thankfully, there are several hosting companies who are now offering specialized WooCommerce hosting plans which significantly reduces the cost.

Getting started with WooCommerce

Bluehost, an official WordPress and WooCommerce recommended hosting provider, has agreed to offer our users a free domain name, free SSL certificate, and a discount on web hosting.

This will help you start your online store for as low as $6.95 / month.

→ Click here to Claim this Exclusive Bluehost offer ←

As you can see, the cost of starting a basic WooCommerce store is significantly lower than Shopify. WooCommerce also doesn’t charge you a percentage fee of your transactions which is a very nice perk.

But the WooCommerce costs start adding up as you purchase paid extensions. Your hosting costs will also increase as your online store grows.

However, one clear advantage of using WooCommerce is that you can often find free alternatives to the paid extensions. You can also keep your costs in control by only purchasing the tools and plugins as you need them.

With the number of free themes and free add-ons available for WooCommerce, it’s definitely the winner when it comes to cost.

Winner: WooCommerce

Ease of Use: Shopify vs WooCommerce

Most users starting an online store are not web designers or developers. Even users who are familiar with basic concepts need a platform that is easy to use and gets out of their way.

Let’s see how Shopify and WooCommerce stack up in terms of user-friendliness.

Shopify – Ease of Use

Shopify is a fully hosted platform which means you don’t need to install, manage, or update any software. You also don’t need to worry about security, performance, backups, and compatibility issues.

As soon as you sign up, it helps you pick a design for your website. After that, they walk you through customization and then help you add products.

Shopify customization

Shopify comes with an intuitive drag and drop interface. Managing your products, sales, and inventory inside Shopify is a breeze.

One downside of this guided, polished, and highly optimized user experience is that it limits your control. You can only use the design and development tools provided by Shopify or add-ons available in their marketplace.

However, this is not as bad as it sounds. For most users, the large selection of extensions and themes available in Shopify, is more than enough to get started and grow your online store.

WooCommerce – Ease of Use

WooCommerce is not a hosted platform like Shopify. This means you will need to install WooCommerce, manage updates, keep backups, and make sure that your website is secure. There are plenty of free and paid plugins that can automate most of these tasks for you.

WooCommerce setup wizard

WooCommerce is super flexible when it comes to customizations. You have full control of the whole platform. You can add any functionality imaginable to your website with the help of more than 55,000+ WordPress plugins.

However, there is no built-in drag & drop design builder. You can use one of the WordPress page builders like Beaver Builder, but it adds to your cost.

The biggest downside of the flexibility is that it comes with a learning curve and requires a more hands-on management of your website. You also have to signup for a merchant account or similar service like Stripe / PayPal.

While the WooCommerce guided setup wizard is helpful, it does not come close to the onboarding and ease of use of Shopify.

Winner: Shopify

Payment Methods: Shopify vs WooCommerce

There are many payment gateways that you can use to accept payments online. Some payment methods may not be suitable for you, and others may not be available to your customers.

This is why it’s important that the platform you choose offers multiple payment options. Let’s take a look at how Shopify and WooCommerce compare when it comes to payment integrations.

Payment Options in Shopify

Shopify offers plenty of payment options that you can use to receive payments from customers. It has its own payments solution called Shopify Payments (powered by Stripe) as well as all popular third-party payment gateways.

Shopify Payments

The problem is that Shopify charges an extra 2% fees on each transaction made through third party payment gateways. This is on top of the transaction fees charged by the payment gateway. You can reduce the fee to 0.5% by paying $299 per month for Advanced Shopify plan.

Shopify Payments has flat credit card fees, but no other transaction fees. Credit card rates start from 2.9% + 30¢ for the basic plan and get lower for other plans.

Payment Options in WooCommerce

WooCommerce offers PayPal and Stripe payments by default. It also supports all other popular payment service providers through add-ons.

WooCommerce payment methods

For payment gateways, WooCommerce even has support for many regional and less popular payment services. Since there is no barrier to entry, any payments company can create add-ons for WooCommerce and provide support for it.

As a self-hosted platform, you are only charged transaction fees by your payment gateway or your bank. WooCommerce never charges you a % fee on your store transactions which is a major plus.

If choosing your own merchant account and using a third-party gateway is important for you, then you will save A LOT of money by using WooCommerce. But if you’re a small store and willing to use Shopify Payments which has the same credit card rates as Stripe / Paypal, then it makes no difference.

Winner: Tie

Integrations and Add-ons: Shopify vs WooCommerce

No matter how robust an e-commerce platform is, you’ll always need third-party tools and services to grow your store. For example, an email marketing software, lead generation tool, analytics tools, outreach services, etc.

Both Shopify and WooCommerce have a massive extensions directory, and they integrate with many third-party services.

Shopify Add-ons and Integrations

Shopify comes with a powerful API and an App Store where you can buy third-party add-ons for your Shopify store. They have hundreds of apps in the store covering every feature you’ll want to add to your store.

Shopify App Store

For lead generation, they have integrations with software like OptinMonster which helps you grow your email list and reduce cart abandonment. They have apps for SEO, product reviews, discounts, countdowns, and more.

Shopify’s app store contains both free and paid apps. Free apps are usually created by third-party services that have their own pricing, and the app only integrates your store to their APIs. Pricing for paid add-ons varies and most apps offer monthly subscriptions.

WooCommerce Add-ons and Integrations

WooCommerce extensions

WooCommerce is open source and built on top of WordPress. This gives you access to more than 55,000 free WordPress plugins and many more paid plugins.

You can use these add-ons to add payment gateways, lead generation, SEO, performance optimization, and almost any feature you can think of.

Due to the low barrier of entry, there are a lot more integrations and add-ons available for WooCommerce than Shopify. Almost all third-party tools and service providers have their own plugins to seamlessly integrate with your WooCommerce store.

You can also hire a developer to create an integration or plugin just for your own website. However it’s important to keep in mind that WooCommerce is a lot easier to customize. Having personally gone through the process of submitting a plugin for WordPress and submitting an app to the Shopify store, we can say that the process is extremely harder on Shopify vs WooCommerce.

Winner: WooCommerce

Shopify vs WooCommerce Dropshipping

Shopify vs WooCommerce dropshipping

Dropshipping is an online business where an eCommerce store doesn’t keep the products in stock. Instead, it fullfills order by purchasing products from vendors and then shipping them directly to the customers.

Due to its low overhead, dropshipping has become popular around the world. Many of our users asked us to compare WooCommerce vs Shopify for dropshipping and which one of them is better for a dropshipping business.

Dropshipping with Shopify

When building a dropshipping business, the front-end of your website will look just like any online store. Your users will be able to browse the products, add them to cart, and make payment, just like they would do on any other eCommerce store.

Depending on the vendors you choose, you will then have to place user’s order for shipping.

Shopify also has integration apps for several popular dropshipping marketplaces like AliExpress, Oberlo, Printify, and more. However, each of these product marketplaces has their own membership fees, shipping, and other charges that you need to keep in mind when building your dropshipping website with Shopify.

Dropshipping with WooCommerce

WooCommerce is a popular choice among dropshipping businesses. Mainly because WooCommerce allows you to install extensions that make order fulfillment a breeze.

You can easily find extensions that allow you to instantly import products, fulfill orders from your website, and more. You can even create your own eCommerce marketplace allowing other vendors to sell on your website.

Keep in mind, that your supplier and vendor may have minimum order requirements, membership fees, and other charges. You need to keep those in mind when adding products to your WooCommerce dropshipping store.

Winner: WooCommerce

Scalability and Growth: Shopify vs WooCommerce

You have probably heard the term “growth-pains” from various CEOs. As your business grows, you will need more resources to handle new challenges and goals.

Shopify and WooCommerce can both be scaled to handle large amount of traffic and orders, but they’re not created equal. Let’s take a look at how these two eCommerce platform compare when it comes to scalability.

Scalability on Shopify

Shopify enterprise

Shopify handles the technical parts of your store which means you don’t ever have to worry about performance, security, and scalability. Once your business starts growing, you can simply upgrade your Shopify plans.

Their infrastructure can easily handle your growing business without you having to worry about downtimes, backups, updates, or security. They also offer enterprise services as part of the Shopify Plus plan.

This takes out the painful part of the growth, but it also adds to your cost of business. Your expenses will grow, and you’ll have to plan accordingly.

The good part is that your costs will be offset by you not having to hire / manage a technical team in-house.

Scalability on WooCommerce

WooCommerce Scalability

WooCommerce is a self-hosted platform which makes you responsible for maintaining updates, backups, and security of your website.

Your starter WooCommerce hosting plan would run out of resources as your store starts getting more traffic.

The good part is that you have plenty of options to manage growth as you are in full control of your website. Starting with better management of resources with caching to upgrading your hosting plan to more powerful servers.

Your WooCommerce hosting costs will increase, but you will have better control on resources, and you can make sure that you are not paying for resources that you don’t need. You can use a managed WordPress hosting provider like WP Engine or LiquidWeb to help scale your WooCommerce store.

Despite the control that WooCommerce offers, some business owners simply prefer a hassle-free solution.

Winner: Shopify

Support Options for WooCommerce vs Shopify

Both WooCommerce and Shopify are quite easy to use. However, sometimes you may need help to learn how to do something new on your store.

Let’s see how WooCommerce and Shopify handle support and what are your options to get help when needed.

Support Options on Shopify

Shopify is a fully hosted platform, which means they control the software and they are the ones who know their platform the best.

Shopify provides 24/7 support via live chat, phone, email, and Twitter. For users who want to fix things on their own, Shopify offers extensive documentation, how-to guides, knowledge base, video tutorials, and forums.

Shopify support options

It also maintains a directory of Shopify Experts that you can hire if you need extra help or if you want to integrate a third-party solution.

Shopify doesn’t provide support for any third-party apps or themes that you are using.

Support Options for WooCommerce

WooCommerce is the world’s most popular eCommerce platform, which means there are tons of support options that you can utilize when needed.

The official website has extensive documentation, tutorials, and guides that allow you to help yourself. They also have support forums where you can get help from other WooCommerce users and experts.

WooCommerce is a self-hosted platform, which means your hosting provider is responsible for providing support for issues with your server.

For your WooCommerce theme and extensions, those developers are responsible for answering support questions regarding their products.

Due to its immense popularity, it is quite easier and often cheaper to find developers to help you fix issues with your WooCommerce store. You can find developers on freelancing websites to fix WooCommerce issues.

Winner: Shopify

WooCommerce vs Shopify: Which is the Best eCommerce Platform?

Shopify and WooCommerce are both powerful platforms to start your eCommerce store. It truly comes down to your personal skills and preferences.

Shopify is a lot easier to use. It doesn’t require you to install anything, and you can get started quickly. Setting up payments is easier, and they have easy to understand pricing plans.

The disadvantage of Shopify is that you don’t have full control over everything. Your costs can go high with transaction fees, add-ons, and integrations. Your upgrade options are limited to select plans, and you cannot manage costs on a pay-as-you-grow basis.

WooCommerce is open source and gives you full control of your website. It costs a lot lower to start an online store with WooCommerce specially with these WooCommerce hosting companies.

The disadvantage is that you’ll have to maintain the software. It comes with a bit of learning curve. However, millions of beginners are already using it, and they get over the learning phase quite quickly.

If you are looking for a cost-effective solution, and you want to have full control of your online store, then WooCommerce is the best platform for you.

If you want something that’s completely hassle-free that has infinite scalability, then Shopify is the better platform for you.

We hope this article helped you compare pros and cons of Shopify vs WooCommerce. You may also want to see our guide on how to choose the best website builder.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

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How to Add Social Share Buttons in WordPress (Beginner’s Guide)


Do you want to add social share buttons in WordPress? Social media websites are where people spend a lot of their time on internet.

You can use social media to build user engagement and bring new users to your website. The simplest way to do this is by adding social sharing buttons to WordPress posts and pages.

In this article, we’ll show you how to easily add social share buttons and display share counts in WordPress. We will cover couple of different ways to do this, so you can add social buttons above and below post content or make a floating share bar..

How to Add Social Share Buttons in WordPress - Easy Way

Why You Should Add Social Share Buttons in WordPress?

Social networking is one of the most popular online activities today. It is estimated that by the end of 2019, there will be around 2.77 billion social media users around the globe. (Source)

That’s why social media marketing is now a crucial part of any businesses’ growth strategy. If you want to reach more potential customers, then social media platforms are highly effective channels to communicate with them.

The problem is that when you share your content on your own social media profiles, tit only reaches a limited number of your own followers.

The best way to reach people who don’t follow your business on social media is by adding social sharing buttons to your WordPress site.

Social share buttons prompt your website visitors to share your content on their social media timeline. This allows your content to be seen by their friends and followers who can then add comments, like, and re-share it.

Adding social sharing buttons to your website can help you:

  • Get more traffic to your website
  • Increase your social media following
  • Generate more leads and sales
  • Build social proof and brand recognition

Having said that, let’s see how to easily add social share buttons in WordPress.

Adding Social Share Buttons in WordPress

For this tutorial, we’ll be using the Shared Counts plugin. It is the best WordPress social media plugin available on the market.

Using this plugin, you can easily add social share buttons in your WordPress posts and also display the share counts. The best part is that it is optimized for performance and doesn’t slow down your website.

Unlike other social sharing plugins, Shared Counts uses a unique caching method to have minimal impact on your website’s speed and performance.

The first thing you need to do is to install and activate the Shared Counts plugin. For detailed instructions, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

After you’ve installed the plugin, you need to go to Settings » SharedCounts menu to configure plugin settings.

Shared Counts WordPress menu

Next, you need to scroll down to the ‘Display’ section and choose the share buttons you want to display. By default, three buttons are selected (Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest).

Shared Counts Plugin - select social share buttons

You can click on the white area in the field to add additional share buttons that you want.

Add social share buttons in Shared Counts

Next, you can choose the share button style from the dropdown menu labeled “Share Button Style”. Shared Counts plugin comes with 8 beautiful button styles.

Shared Counts share button styles

After that, you’ll need to select the theme location where you want to display the social share buttons. You can choose from 3 options: Before Content, After Content, and Before and After Content.

Theme Locations for Social Share Buttons

Lastly, you need to select the supported post types. It has ‘post’ selected by default.

If you want to display share buttons on your pages and other post types, then you can check the box next to page option.

Supported Post types Shared Counts

Don’t forget to click on the Save Changes button to store your settings.

Once done, you can visit any post on your website to see the social sharing buttons in action. Here’s how our demo website looks with the ‘Classic’ button style on default Twenty Nineteen theme.

Social Share Buttons by Shared Counts

How to Display Social Share Counts in WordPress?

As the name suggests, Shared Counts plugin can also show your social share counts without slowing down your website.

To enable social share counts, you’ll need to go to the Shared Counts settings and set up the share count source.

On the Shared Counts settings window, you’ll see the ‘Share Counts’ settings at the top.

By default, you’ll see the None option selected for ‘Count Source’ which means that share counts are not being retrieved and displayed.

Share Counts Source none Shared Counts

To show the social share counts, you can choose from two sources.

Share Counts Source Options

The SharedCount.com is the recommended option for the plugin. If you choose this option, the counts are retrieved from the SharedCount service API. It allows fetching all counts with only 2 API calls which is the best for performance.

If you choose the ‘Native’ option, share counts are retrieved from the respective social service, like Facebook API for Facebook counts, Pinterest API for Pin counts. This method can slow down your site because it will require multiple API calls.

We recommend choosing SharedCount.com as your count source. Next, you’ll see a field for SharedCount API key.

Shared Counts API field

You can get the SharedCount API by signing up to for a free account on SharedCount.com website.

Register for SharedCounts com

Enter your email address and a password. Then click Create Account.

Create SharedCounts.com account

The website will now send a confirmation link to your email address. You need to click the link to verify.

SharedCounts.com account verified

Once your email is verified, you need to log into your SharedCount account and navigate to your account at the top right side of the screen. There, you’ll see your email address and a dropdown icon next to it.

SharedCounts.com account

Next, you need to click the drop-down menu and select ‘Settings’. From here you’ll find your SharedCount API key.

SharedCounts.com API key

You need to copy the API key and go back to your plugin’s settings page on your WordPress site. Now, go ahead and paste the API key in the ‘SharedCount API Key’ field.

Insert SharedCounts API key

Below that, you’ll see some other settings related to social share counts. You can review and change them if you like.

If you want to show the total counts, then you can check the box next to ‘Count Total Only’ option.

We also recommend checking the box to hide empty counts instead of displaying a zero (0).

Share count options

Next, you will see a new ‘Total Counts’ field in the Display section. This allows you to show total share counts alongside your share buttons.

Add Total Counts button Shared Counts Plugin

Don’t forget to click on the ‘Save changes’ button to store your settings.

You can now visit your website to see the social sharing buttons with share count for each blog post.

Adding Social Share Buttons on Selected Pages

Typpically social share buttons aren’t usually added to WordPress pages however sometimes you may want to enable them on some specific pages.

If so then, you can use the Shared Counts shortcode: [[shared_counts]].

You can add this shortcode anywhere on your website to display the share buttons.

To add shortcodes in WordPress, there is a shortcode block in the WordPress block editor.

Shortcode Block in Gutenberg Editor

You can simply add the block to your content area and then paste the Shared Counts shortcode.

Insert Shared Counts Shortcode

Using the shortcode, you can add social share buttons really anywhere on your site.

Adding Floating Social Share Bar in WordPress

The Shared Counts plugin allows you to add social share buttons above content, below content, or both above and below content. These share buttons are static and not visible all the time.

Another popular way to display social sharing buttons is by adding a floating social sharing bar. It is a social sharing menu that sticks on users’ screens as they scroll down.

Unlike the standard sharing buttons, the floating social share bar will be seen the whole time a user reads your article. Making them more noticeable and helping you boost social sharing.

Some user experience experts argue that it makes your website look bad as it fills out the white space. However, if you can keep it clean, then it can be quite useful.

For the floating social share buttons, you need to install and activate the Sassy Social Share plugin.

Upon activation, the plugin will add a new menu item labeled ‘Sassy Social Share’ to your WordPress admin sidebar. Clicking on it will take you to the plugin’s settings page.

Select your button style

First, you need to choose an icon style. The plugin comes with square, rounded, and rectangle buttons. You can choose styles for both the floating social share bar and the standard share bar.

Next, you need to switch to the ‘Standard Interface’ tab. From here you can enable or disable the standard static social sharing buttons.

Standard sharing buttons

We recommend using either floating or static social buttons. Using both of them will be an overkill and may create a bad user experience.

Next, you need to switch to the ‘Floating Interface’ tab and check the box next to ‘Enable Floating sharing interface’ option.

Floating social share plugin settings

After that, you need to choose the social media websites you want to display. You can add or remove buttons and rearrange them by simple drag and drop.

Once you are finished, click on the ‘Save Changes’ button to store your settings.

You can now visit your website to see floating social share buttons in action. Here’s how it looked on our demo website.

Floating social share buttons

We hope this article helped you learn how to add social share buttons in WordPress. You may also want to learn how to add social media icons to WordPress menus and how to add the social icons to the sidebar.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.



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Ultimate Guide to Creating a WordPress Membership Site


Do you want to build a membership website? For a long time, website owners relied solely on advertising and affiliate revenue to monetize their content.

A membership website allows you to make money online by allowing users to pay for premium content, features, and access to the community.

You will need a platform that has features for managing users, memberships, payments, etc. Luckily, there are some really great membership plugins for WordPress that make it super easy.

In this step by step guide, we will show you how to easily create a WordPress membership site without any coding knowledge.

Creating a WordPress membership website

What Do You Need to Start a WordPress Membership Website?

Unlike 10 years ago, it’s quite easy to make a website these days. Out of all the platforms and website builders, WordPress makes it the easiest for anyone to build their own membership website and start selling with little to no technical skills.

You’ll need the following three things to start:

  1. A domain name. This will be your website’s address (Example, wpbeginner.com).
  2. A web hosting account. This is where your website files are stored.
  3. A membership addon (It will convert your regular website into a membership platform).

You can set up a fully functional membership website with WordPress in less than 30 minutes, and we’ll walk you through every step of the process.

Below are the steps that we will cover to help you make a powerful membership website with WordPress.

  1. Getting started with a membership site
  2. Choosing a WordPress membership plugin
  3. Setting up your membership website
  4. Adding payment methods
  5. Adding membership levels
  6. Restricting access based on membership plans
  7. Creating members only content
  8. Creating a pricing page
  9. Adding sign up and login forms
  10. Customizing email templates
  11. Viewing reports to grow your website
  12. Extending your membership website

Ready? Let’s get started.

Step 1. Getting Started with a WordPress Membership Site

To create a membership site, you must make sure that you are using the right WordPress platform. Yes, there are two types of WordPress.

We recommend using the self-hosted WordPress.org version because it gives you unrestricted access to all features and tools that you need (see the full comparison of WordPress.com vs WordPress.org).

For a self hosted WordPress site, you’ll need a WordPress hosting account, domain name, and a SSL certificate.

Typically, a domain name costs around $14.99 / year, web hosting around $7.99 / month, and SSL certificate costs around $69.99 / year.

If you are just starting out, then these startup costs can add up quickly.

Thankfully, we have a way to fix that.

Bluehost, an official WordPress recommended hosting provider, has agreed to offer our users a free domain name, free SSL certificate, and a discount on web hosting.

Basically, you can get all of the above for $2.75 per month.

→ Click here to Claim this Exclusive Bluehost offer ←

Note: At WPBeginner we believe in full transparency. If you sign up with Bluehost using our referral link, then we will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you (in fact, you will save money and get a free domain + SSL certificate). We would get this commission for recommending just about any WordPress hosting service, but we only recommend products that we use personally and believe will add value to our readers.

Once you have signed up for hosting, the next step is to install WordPress. Follow the instructions in our step by step guide on how to start a WordPress blog, and you’ll be up and running in no time.

Since Bluehost already comes with WordPress pre-installed, you can move on to setting up your WordPress membership site.

Step 2. Choosing a WordPress Membership Plugin

There are plenty of free and paid WordPress membership plugins that you can use. However, each one of them has its own pros and cons. We have a full comparison of the best WordPress membership plugins.

To choose the right WordPress membership plugin, you need to decide what kind of membership website do you want to build and what features will you need?

If you just want to allow user registration on your WordPress site, then you can use WPForms. It is a WordPress form builder plugin that allows you to easily create user login and registration forms. You can even allow users to submit articles without accessing the WordPress admin area.

On the other hand, if you want to sell subscriptions, paid content, or digital downloads, then you’ll need a more robust WordPress membership plugin, like MemberPress.

MemberPress comes with advanced membership features that allow you to accept payments, create membership levels, restrict access based on levels, and more.

Selling online courses can be another possible scenario. In this case, you’ll need LearnDash, a complete WordPress LMS plugin with all the learning management features.

You can also integrate LearnDash into MemberPress to create a powerful website with online courses as well as membership subscriptions.

That being said, let’s start setting up your WordPress membership website.

Step 3. Setting up Your WordPress Membership Website

We are choosing MemberPress as our go-to plugin because it has all the features we mentioned above, and it works perfectly with third-party plugins necessary for the growth of your business.

First thing you need to do is install and activate the MemberPress plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you need to visit the MemberPress » Options page to configure the plugin settings.

MemberPress options page

Step 4. Add a Payment Method

The options page is divided into different tabs. The first thing you need to set up is a payment gateway because it allows you to accept payments on your membership site.

You can do this by switching to the ‘Payments’ tab and then selecting your payment gateway.

MemberPress payments

MemberPress supports PayPal (Standard, Express, and Pro), Stripe, and Authorize.net out of the box. You need to select the payment method you want to setup and provide the required credentials.

You can also add multiple payment methods by clicking on the add button to add another payment method.

We typically use two options: Stripe for credit cards and PayPal as a secondary option because some users prefer PayPal over giving out credit card details.

Don’t forget to click on the ‘Update Options’ button at the bottom of the page to save your settings.

Step 5. Creating Membership Levels

The next step is to create membership levels that your users can purchase. Each membership level can have different pricing plans, perks, and access. You can even have a free membership plan.

To create a membership level, you need to go to MemberPress » Memberships page and click on the ‘Add New’ button at the top.

Add membership level

On the next page, enter a title for this particular membership plan and then provide the plan details in the post editor.

You will need to set the pricing and expiration for this plan under the membership terms section.

Membership plan

In the example above, we have created a yearly membership plan.

After that, you need to scroll down to the membership options meta box below the post editor. This is where you can customize permissions and membership options for this particular plan.

Membership options

Once you are satisfied with the membership plan, you can click on the publish button to make it available.

Go ahead and repeat this process to create as many membership plans that you need.

Step 6. Restrict Access for Membership Plans

The next step is to select which content would be available to different membership plans on your website. MemberPress makes it very easy to control access using ‘Rules’.

You can setup rules by visiting the MemberPress » Rules page and clicking on the Add New button at the top.

Add new rules

The rule edit page allows you to select different conditions and associate them to a membership plan.

For example, you can select all content that matches a particular tag or category to be available only to members with the silver subscription plan.

Add a rules set to MemberPress

You can also create more specific rules. For example, a single post or page, child pages, or a specific URL.

Below the rules editor, you’ll see the content drip and expiration options.

Drip content allows you to gradually release content to users instead of giving it all away at once. The expiration option makes the content unavailable after a defined period of time.

If you are not sure, then you should leave them unchecked.

Once you are satisfied, go ahead and click on the ‘Save Rule’ button to save your rule settings.

Repeat the process to create more rules as needed for your membership site.

Step 7. Adding Members Only Content

MemberPress makes it super easy to create members-only content using Rules.

In the above example, we created a rule that restricted all content tagged as paid to be restricted. Now all we need to do is to create our paid content and add the paid tag to it.

Adding members only content

MemberPress also adds ‘MemberPress Unauthorized Access’ metabox below the post editor. This allows you to select what logged out users (non-members) will see when they reach this content.

Restricted content options

You can use the global default settings, or you can show excerpts, login form, or a custom message.

Once you have added members-only content, you can go ahead and publish it. As the page reloads, you will see a success message that this content is protected.

Protected content

Step 8. Create a Pricing Page

This is the page your users will see when they want to sign up for a membership plan. On this page, users will be able to select a membership plan and then move to the payment page.

Users who try to access the restricted or paid areas of your website will also be redirected to this page.

You can configure this by going to MemberPress » Groups page and clicking on the Add New button at the top.

Creating a group

First, enter a title for the group plan page. This will also be the title for the plans page that users will see.

Next, go down to ‘Group options’ metabox and add memberships that you want to display on the page.

Pricing group options

You can also select a theme for the pricing table. MemberPress comes with few ready-made templates for that.

Once satisfied, click on the ‘Publish’ button to make your plan publicly visible.

To preview your pricing page, click on the ‘View Group’ link after publishing it.

Pricing page

Redirect users to pricing page

Now that we have the pricing page ready, the next step is to redirect unauthorized users to the pricing page.

To do that, first you need to visit MemberPress » Groups page and copy the URL next to the group you created in the previous step.

Pricing page URL

After that, go to MemberPress » Options page and scroll down to the ‘Unauthorized Access’ section.

You need to check the box next to ‘Redirect unauthorized visitors to a specific URL’ option and then paste the group URL you copied earlier.

Redirect unauthorized users to pricing page

Click on the ‘Update Options’ button to save your settings.

Now unauthorized users will be redirected to the pricing plans page when they try to access a members only area.

Step 9. Add Sign up and User Login Forms

Now that you have everything set up, it is time to allow your users to easily find their way around your website.

First, you need to add a user login form so that members can sign in to their accounts.

Go to Appearance » Widgets and add ‘MemberPress login’ widget to a sidebar.

MemberPress login widget

Next, we will be adding the pricing page link to the navigation menu, so that new users can select a plan and register.

You can do this by visiting the Appearance » Menus page in your WordPress admin. From the left column, you need to click on the Groups tab to expand it. It will show the pricing plan group you created earlier.

Add pricing plans to the menu

Check the box next to your pricing page and then click on the ‘Add to menu’ button.

The pricing plan page will now appear in the right column. You can drag and drop to rearrange its position in the menu. You can also edit it and change the link text.

Edit menu item

Don’t forget to click on the save menu button to store your changes.

You can now log out of the WordPress admin area and visit your website to see everything in action.

Membership website preview

Step 10. Customizing Membership Email Templates

Your WordPress membership plugin will send several email notifications to members. MemberPress allows you to easily edit those emails and make changes to include your own branding.

Simply go to MemberPress » Options page and click on the ‘Emails’ tab. From here you can manage email notifications sent by MemberPress.

Editing email notifications in MemberPress

You will see all the email notifications sent by MemberPress to members as well as Administrators. You can click on the edit button to customize any of these notices.

Edit email notices

You can use a simple text editor to edit the email message with basic formatting options and smart tags to insert dynamic items like names, username, membership level, and more.

Make sure that you click on ‘Send Test’ button to send yourself a couple of test notifications. This will ensure that MemberPress can send email notifications.

If you are having trouble receiving email notifications, then see our guide on how to fix WordPress not sending email issue.

Step 11. Viewing Reports to Grow your Membership Website

To grow any business, you need data to make informed decisions. MemberPress comes with built-in reports to see how your membership website is doing.

Simply go to the MemberPress » Reports page. From here, you can sort reports by monthly, yearly, or all time data.

MemberPress reports

It will show you number of active, inactive, free, paid, and total members. It will also show you average member lifetime value and other data. You can scroll below to see more charts and click on a date to view transactions.

However, the most important metric of judging a membership website’s success is user engagement.

This is where you’ll need Google Analytics. It allows you to see where your users are coming from and what they do when they are on your website.

MonsterInsights, the most popular Google Analytics plugin for WordPress, offers a complete MemberPress integration that makes it easy to enable Enhanced Ecommerce Tracking for MemberPress.

For detailed instructions, see our guide on how to track user engagement using Google Analytics in WordPress.

Taking Your Membership Website to The Next Level

MemberPress is a powerful WordPress membership plugin. It allows you to easily grow your membership website.

It works beautifully with LearnDash, which allows you to easily create courses and leave the selling part to MemberPress.

You can also use it alongside BuddyPress and bbPress.

Here are some other useful resources to help you grow your WordPress membership site.

That’s all, we hope this article helped you setup your WordPress membership website. You may also want to see our step by step WordPress SEO guide for beginners.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post Ultimate Guide to Creating a WordPress Membership Site appeared first on WPBeginner.



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10 Best WordPress Forum Plugins (Compared)


Are you looking to add a community section on your WordPress site? Forums and discussion boards are a great way to boost user engagement and build a community around your site.

In this article, we’ve hand-picked the best WordPress forum plugins that you can use to build a community around your website or business.

Aside from the basic forum feature, we also made sure to find solutions that have advanced functionalities like question & answer board, custom social network feature, and more so you can build a community of your dreams.

Best WordPress Forum Plugins

Why Create a Forum on Your WordPress Site?

Online forums are an effective community-building tool where your website visitors can participate by posting questions, sharing solutions, new ideas, etc.

Your forum could be a Q&A (question-and-answer) platform, discussion board, knowledge sharing space, or a problem-solving support zone.

There are multiple advantages of adding a forum to your website.

First, your WordPress forum software will help users engage and participate on your website. When they participate, they’re more likely to come back, buy your products, and recommend them to their friends and family.

Second, it’s one of the most common and effective ways to provide support to your customers. When your customers have a technical or generic support question, they can hop into the forum and check to see if the issue is already posted. If it’s a new problem, then they can post and get their problem solved.

Lastly, it gives some SEO value to your website when a unique issue is discussed and the thread becomes popular. In many instances, forum threads outrank other types of content in search results. Sometimes, the user-generated content makes more sense than formal posts on your blog.

That being said, here’re the best plugins to add a forum to your WordPress website.

Note: You will need to have a WordPress website to use these plugins. If you want to start a new website, then you will need a domain and web hosting.

We recommend using Bluehost because they’re an official WordPress hosting provider, and they’re offering our users a free domain name and 60% off web hosting.

1. bbPress

bbpress-best-wordpress-forum-plugin

When it comes to integrating a forum into WordPress, bbPress is hands-down the best plugin for the job. It is a sister project of WordPress.org, which means that it’s built the WordPress way and uses the existing WordPress core to power your forum.

bbPress is easy to set up, easy to moderate and maintain, fast, and clean. Anyone can easily create a forum in WordPress using this plugin. If you need detailed instructions, we have a tutorial on how to set up bbPress in WordPress.

Pros

  • Built for WordPress, bbPress utilizes the same WordPress core and follows the same coding standards as WordPress.
  • It integrates with any WordPress theme without painful modifications. There are also some excellent WordPress themes for bbPress that you can use.
  • More than 200 bbPress extensions available to do just about anything you want.
  • Since it doesn’t have a lot of bloat, bbPress is fast and lightweight.
  • You can easily create multisite forums and maintain them from one dashboard.
  • It’s a free open source software, so you can use it unlimited for free.

Cons

  • Not as feature-rich as full-fledged forum CMS like phpBB, Vanilla Forums.
  • The core plugin has only the basic features, so you need to install additional extensions for more power.

2. BuddyPress

buddypress-wordpress-plugin

BuddyPress allows you to build your own social network within WordPress. Just like bbPress, BuddyPress is also an official WordPress plugin. It follows the same coding practices and standards as WordPress.

With BuddyPress, you can create a full-fledged online community with user profiles, activity streams, user groups, messaging, and networking options.

Similar to Facebook, it allows your users to add friends, send private messages, create groups, and get notifications.

Best of all, you can use BuddyPress and bbPress together and create a feature-rich online forum.

Pros

  • Easily integrates with any WordPress theme and plugin.
  • Hundreds of third party BuddyPress plugins and extensions to extend the functionality.
  • Lets you easily create a complete social network with activity streams, user profiles, social connections, groups, etc.
  • It’s free and open source. Download BuddyPress for free and use it on unlimited sites, and also get regular updates.

Cons

  • The core plugin lacks advanced features that you may need to build a full-fledged online community. To extend its power, you’ll need to depend on third-party plugins.

3. ForumEngine

forumengine-wordpress-forum-theme

ForumEngine is actually a WordPress theme which turns your WordPress site into a discussion forum. It’s a powerful theme built specifically for creating a forum in WordPress. The theme shows the forum threads right on your website homepage.

With ForumEngine, you can create forums where users can interact in many ways like posting topics, questions, replying, liking or disliking a topic. It allows users to quickly search any topic in the list with Ajax live search.

It also provides a private space to your users where they can access and manage all their activities in the forum.

Pros

  • It’s a full-fledged WordPress forum theme, so you won’t need to install any plugin to create a forum in WordPress.
  • It provides plenty of styling options to change the appearance of your forum and make it look attractive.
  • Plenty of widgets for adding forum statistics, categories, hot topics, etc.
  • Allows you to display advertisements and earn extra income.

Cons

  • It’s a forum specific theme, so it’s hard to create a regular business or eCommerce site with this. You can integrate it with your WordPress blog, but it doesn’t have options to display products, etc.
  • It’s a paid theme. If you’ve limited budget, free options like bbPress and BuddyPress may be better options.

4. Simple:Press

simple-press-wordpress-forum-plugin

Simple:Press is a simple solution for adding a forum to your WordPress site. It comes with both free and premium versions, so you can choose the option according to your need.

Using Simple:Press, you can create unlimited forums, forum groups, sub-forums, private and public forums easily. You can also lock and pin any forum. To let you manage the users, it has a powerful user group and permission system. Your users can create extended profiles with timezone, and a lot more.

Pros

  • Fully integrated into WordPress, supports WordPress registrations and logins.
  • Supports both standard WordPress and multisite installs as well.
  • More than 70 premium plugins are available to extend its features.
  • Creates SEO friendly permalinks and includes many SEO features.

Cons

  • The free version is fairly basic. You’ll need to purchase a premium plan to add advanced functionalities.

5. wpForo Forum

wpforo-wordpress-forum-plugin

wpForo is a free WordPress forum plugin which comes with plenty of design and customization options. It features 3 design layouts for your forum: Extended, Simplified, and Question and Answer layout. Each layout has a unique design and features. Plus, there’re 6 set of forum color styles including dark style.

Using this plugin, you can easily create modern forums where your users can participate, get support, as well as contribute. Users can post questions, give answers, vote, subscribe to topics, and receive notifications, share topics on social media, etc.

Pros

  • Available for free with options to extend functionalities by purchasing paid addons.
  • Built-in features for search engine optimization (SEO), XML sitemap, caching, antispam, etc.
  • Smooth integration with BuddyPress to allow more social networking features.

Cons

  • Only basic features are granted in the free plugin. You’ll need to pay for advanced features like ad management, polls, user custom fields, private messaging, etc.
  • The plugin settings are a bit complex for first time users.

6. Asgaros Forum

asgoras-form-best-forum-plugin-for-wordpress

Asgaros Forum is a simple WordPress forum plugin you can use on your live website. It’s the best forum plugin for anyone who is looking to add a lightweight forum page on their existing sites with ease. It’s super easy to setup and adds a feature-rich discussion board in WordPress.

Pros

  • Simple and lightweight forum plugin for beginners as well as professionals.
  • Simple yet powerful options available for content management, members, and permissions.
  • Forum statistics to let you see how well your forum is performing.
  • Multisite compatible plugin.

Cons

  • It doesn’t have extensions to add more functionalities.

7. CM Answers

cm-asnwers-wordpress-qanda-plugin

CM Answers allows you to create a powerful Q&A (question and answer) discussion forum in WordPress. The basic free plugin comes with enough features to quickly setup a Stack Exchange like forum on your website.

It enables users to post questions, answer the questions, vote, upload files, subscribe categories, send private messages, etc. As the admin, you can customize questions, answers, filter out unwanted content, and manage the users. If you want additional features like anonymous posting and payments, you can buy the plugin addons.

Pros

  • Integrates seamlessly with most WordPress themes.
  • Users can vote on questions and answers.
  • Premium version has a lot more features including the ability to choose best answer, profiles, comments, social media login, etc.

Cons

  • Your forum is limited to Q&A format.
  • Most useful features are available for the premium version.
  • Some reviews on the plugin’s page indicate that users found it difficult to use.

8. WP Symposium Pro

wp-symposium-pro-plugin

WP Symposium Pro is an alternative to BuddyPress. You can create your own social network using this plugin. Similar to BuddyPress or Facebook, it allows your users to create profiles and activity wall, add friends, set email alerts, join forums, and more.

The plugin is designed to work with any WordPress theme or plugin. This allows you to add it to an existing WordPress site.

Pros

  • Highly customizable through shortcodes – change colors, fonts, buttons, etc. easily.
  • Option to buy Premium version or individual addons to add features. Premium support available for paid version users.
  • Documentation with videos is available on plugin’s website to help you get started.

Cons

  • Many useful features need a premium plan.

9. DW Question and Answer

dw-question-and-asnwer-plugin

DW Question and Answer enables you to create a complete Q&A (question and answer) system on your WordPress site. If you’re thinking of creating a system like Quora or Stack Overflow, DW Question and Answer is the right plugin to start with.

Unlike normal forum plugins, it allows your users to vote the answers, so that the best answer comes to the top and the less meaningful answers go to the end. For more details see our tutorial on how to create a question and answers site in WordPress.

Pros

  • You can use the free plugin for creating a basic question answer system. Advanced users can buy the premium version for more features.
  • CAPTCHA support helps you to combat spam.
  • Great for providing support to your customers/ users.

Cons

  • The free plugin lets you create just a simple forum in question and answer format.

10. Discussion Board

discussion-board-wordpress-forum-plugin

WordPress discussion board is a free plugin you can use to create a forum. It’s easy to install and setup the plugin, so anyone can build a forum in WordPress without touching any code.

Using this plugin, you can allow front-end registration and login system to attract more users. To avoid spamming, it has options to restrict repost, moderation for comments, etc.

Pros

  • Discussion Board theme specifically designed to go well with the plugin. You can also use this plugin with any theme you like.
  • Comes with plenty of handy shortcodes for displaying forms, list of topics, etc.
  • A paid version available for adding more options and possibilities.

Cons

  • The free version lacks powerful options. You’ll need to purchase their premium plan for many useful features.

Important Advice on Building a Forum Website

Regardless of your choice of online forum software, you will need extra hosting resources to run a successful online community.

You can install all these WordPress forum plugins on a shared hosting plan. You can even run a forum quite effectively for a while on the same starter hosting package.

If you are just starting out and want to test the waters, then we recommend using Bluehost. They are one of the top hosting companies in the world and officially recommended WordPress hosting provider.

However, as more visitors use your forum, it will slow down your website and may even crash it. In that case, you will need to upgrade to a managed WordPress hosting plan.

We recommend using WPEngine. They are one of the top managed WordPress hosting companies in the world.

Our second choice would be SiteGround. They are an officially recommended WordPress and bbPress hosting provider.

Need help moving your website? See our article on how to move WordPress to a new hosting server without any downtime.

We hope this article helped you find the best forum plugins for WordPress. You may also want to see our handpicked list of best Analytics Solutions for WordPress Users.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post 10 Best WordPress Forum Plugins (Compared) appeared first on WPBeginner.



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How to Schedule Your Posts in WordPress (Step by Step)


Did you know that WordPress has the ability to schedule your posts to be published at a future time? This extremely useful feature is slightly hidden which is why many beginners don’t even notice it.

By scheduling your posts, you never have to worry about publishing your articles at a specific time. You can finish writing and schedule them to go live on the day and time that you choose.

In this article, we will show you how to easily schedule WordPress posts step by step and share some bonus tips to use WordPress scheduled posts like a Pro.

Schedule posts in WordPress

Why Schedule Posts in WordPress?

To create a successful blog, the best strategy is to plan your editorial calendar and publish articles on a regular basis.

That’s where schedule posts feature comes in handy. You can write your articles at your own pace and get ahead on your editorial calendar. Once you finish writing, you can schedule the post to be published at a specific date and time.

Another reason to schedule your posts is to benefit from peak traffic hours. There is a certain time in a day when each website gets the peak of their users. By publishing at that time, you can leverage existing traffic to increase your page views.

Now if you live in a different time zone than your readers, then it can be a problem. Imagine having your peak time as 3 a.m. where you live. Scheduling posts can be very handy for this.

Scheduling posts also comes in handy when you are going on vacation. You can simply schedule your blog posts and enjoy your holidays without worrying about writing and publishing content.

Now that you understand the benefits, let’s take a look at how to actually schedule your blog posts in WordPress.

How Do You Schedule a Post in WordPress?

It is easy to schedule WordPress posts if you know where to look. The option to schedule blog posts is not easily noticeable.

Once you have finished writing your blog post, you need to look under the ‘Document’ tab in the right column of the edit screen.

Under the ‘Status & Visibility’ panel, you need to click on the ‘Immediately’ link next to ‘Publish’ option.

WordPress post scheduling option

This will show you a date and time picker. You can select the date and time when you want to publish this post.

You can select a future date and time to schedule your article in WordPress.

You can also select a past date using the same tool to back date your blog post.

When you select a future date, you will notice that the publish button at the top will change into ‘Schedule…’.

Publish button changed into Schedule

Simply click on the Schedule button and WordPress will schedule your post.

The scheduled posts will be automatically published on the date and time you choose.

How to Schedule WordPress Posts in Classic Editor

If you are using the classic WordPress editor, then we highly recommend you to start using the new WordPress block editor, called Gutenberg.

The new WordPress editor is incredibly fast, modern, intuitive, and helps you create better content for your blog.

However, if you still want to use the older classic editor, then here is how you would schedule posts in WordPress.

Once you are done writing your post, look under the ‘Publish’ meta box in the right column of the edit screen and click on the ‘Edit’ link next to ‘Publish immediately’ option.

Change when to publish a post in WordPress

It will now show you the date and time options. Go ahead and enter the date and time when you want to publish your blog post and click on the OK button.

Select schedule date and time in classic editor

You’ll notice that the blue ‘Publish’ button will now change into ‘Schedule’. Go ahead and click on the schedule button to save your changes.

WordPress will now publish your blog post on the date and time you entered.

Troubleshooting WordPress Scheduled Posts

As your website grows, you will be regularly managing and scheduling WordPress posts. Following are some handy tips that will help you efficiently manage your scheduled posts in WordPress.

How do I use my own timezone in WordPress?

You need to change WordPress timezone settings, so that it uses your preferred timezone to publish scheduled posts.

How to view all scheduled posts in WordPress?

Simply go to Posts » All Posts page in your WordPress admin and then click on the ‘Scheduled’ link above the posts table. It will show all scheduled WordPress posts in the queue.

What to do if WordPress scheduled posts missed schedule?

To run scheduled tasks, WordPress uses a system called WP Cron. If the cron is unable to run due to a misconfiguration on your WordPress hosting server, then your scheduled posts will miss the schedule and won’t be published.

If you notice that your blog is affected by this, then you can install WP Missed Schedule plugin.

To learn more, see our article on how to fix the missed schedule post error in WordPress.

How to unschedule a WordPress post?

You can unschedule a WordPress post by editing the post and changing its status from ‘Scheduled’ to ‘Draft’.

In the new default WordPress editor, you will find the option to switch to draft at the top. In the classic editor, you will find it under the publish meta box.

Unschedule WordPress post

After you have changed a scheduled post to a draft, you can continue working on it, or you can publish it right-away if you want.

Can I also schedule WordPress pages?

Yes, you can schedule a WordPress page just like you would schedule a normal blog post.

Can I schedule changes to a published post or page in WordPress?

By default, you cannot schedule changes to a post or page you have already published. Any changes you make to a published post will become live as soon as you save it.

However, you can use the Tao Schedule Update plugin to make scheduled content updates.

For more details, please see our tutorial on how to schedule content updates in WordPress.

We hope this article helped you learn how to easily schedule your blog posts in WordPress. You may also want to see our guide on how to do keyword research for your WordPress blog to find blog post ideas and get more traffic.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.



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