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7 Best Email Marketing Services for Small Business Compared (2019)


Is email marketing a priority for your business in 2019? Are you looking for the best email marketing software?

Choosing the right email marketing service can have a significant impact on the success of your marketing campaign. In this article, we will review the 7 best email marketing services for small businesses.

Best email marketing services compared

Why Choosing The Best Email Marketing Service is Important?

Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective marketing tools for small businesses. According to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing on average sees a 4300 percent return on investment (ROI) for businesses in the United States.

This is because email marketing is easy to manage, gives you full control, and allows you to establish a direct contact with your customers.

Not convinced on email marketing? See these 6 reasons why building an email list is so important today.

It’s important to understand that a lot of your success with email marketing depends entirely on the email marketing software you choose because they are responsible for making sure that your emails actually get delivered.

If you aren’t careful, then you will end up paying a lot more money for fewer features and terrible deliverability (which causes you to lose even more money).

A good email marketing service enables you to create highly engaging emails. It also allows you to manage your contacts, segment users into groups, and track the performance of your email campaigns.

Most importantly, a good email marketing service ensures that your emails do not end up in the spam folder.

Having said that, let’s take a look at some of the best email marketing service providers and how they stack up against each other.

1. Constant Contact

Constant Contact

Constant Contact is one of the largest and fastest growing email marketing service in the world. It is also the most easy to use and beginner friendly email marketing service.

You can easily manage your email lists, contacts, email templates, marketing calendar, and more.

Each account gives you access to easy tracking and reporting, built-in social media sharing tools, free image library, list segmentation, Facebook ads integration, and a powerful eCommerce integration for Shopify stores.

Their Email Plus accounts also come with powerful features like email automation, surveys & polls, coupons, online donations, and subject line A/B testing to maximize your open rate.

Constant Contact offers unmatched support with live chat, phone calls, email, community support, and a vast library of helpful resources.

Aside from online training, they also offer in-person live seminars across the United States. This allows small businesses to quickly learn the basics of email marketing and start using it to grow their business like a pro.

For all the reasons above, we rate Constant Contact the best email marketing service for small businesses.

Constant Contact has a 60-day free trial (no credit-card required). After that their pricing starts as low as $20/month.

WPBeginner users can use our Constant Contact coupon code to get an additional 20% off.

2. Drip

Drip

Drip is a powerful email marketing platform for eCommerce, bloggers, and marketers. They offer a wide range of tools to make marketing automation and personalization easy.

They offer seamless integration for all popular website builders including WordPress and WooCommerce. This allows you to easily add sign up forms to your website and capture more leads.

What sets Drip apart from the competition is their intelligent marketing automation tools, smarter email segmenting, list groups, and a visual workflow builder. These features allow you to reach targeted customers in your email list to get more sales.

Support options at Drip include live chat support, webinars, automation training, detailed courses, free guides and excellent documentation.

We use Drip for several of our businesses because it allows us to connect, engage, and relate to every customer on a personal level with smarter eCommerce marketing automation.

We believe Drip is the best email marketing software for eCommerce websites and business owners who want more advanced tools.

Drip offers a free account for up to 100 subscribers. After that their plans starts from $49 / month which includes all their features.

3. ConvertKit

ConvertKit

ConvertKit is a robust email marketing platform for professional bloggers, authors, and marketers. It is extremely easy to use and incredibly powerful.

ConvertKit allows you to easily offer content upgrades and incentives with email signup forms. It also comes with easy to manage auto-responders allowing you to send drip emails.

With ConvertKit, you can easily segment contacts into those who are interested and those who have already purchased. This helps you increase conversions with automated emails that feel personal.

ConvertKit offers email based support and have extensive knowledge base with great learning material.

A lot of ConvertKit features are specifically designed for creators and professional bloggers that’s why we rate them the best email marketing service for professional bloggers.

ConvertKit offers a 14-day free trial, and their pricing starts from $29/month. They also offer a 30-day refund policy.

4. AWeber

AWeber

AWeber is one of oldest and most popular email marketing service providers in the world. They offer a wide-range of tools for small and medium sized businesses to manage their email marketing.

Getting started with AWeber is easy. It connects seamlessly to most platforms including WordPress. For detailed instructions, see our ultimate guide on how to connect AWeber to WordPress.

You get access to ready to use email templates, list management, autoresponders, and email tracking with detailed insights.

Support options include live chat, phone support, email support, live webinars, and a vast library of how-tos and tutorials.

AWeber offers a 30-day free trial. After that, their pricing starts from $19/month. You can also signup for quarterly or annual plans to save even more.

5. SendinBlue

SendinBlue

SendinBlue is a complete SMS and email marketing software for businesses. They are one of the fastest growing email marketing platforms in Europe.

It is an extremely easy to use platform with excellent tools to create beautiful and highly engaging emails. Their simple drag and drop tools are perfect for beginners with no experience in email marketing.

SendinBlue includes beginner-friendly automation tools that allow you to send transactional emails, create workflows, and segment users. It can also select the best time to send email using their AI algorithms.

SendinBlue offer a completely free email marketing plan that lets you send up to 300 emails per day, but all your emails will have their branding. Paid plans start from $25 per month. You can also include SMS to your account, but the pricing will vary based on your sending requirements.

6. GetResponse

GetResponse

GetResponse is another very popular email marketing solution. It is extremely easy to use and simplifies email marketing for small businesses and absolute beginners.

It comes with some amazing marketing automation tools which allow you to create smart automated campaigns.

With their drag and drop builder, you can create campaigns, segment contacts, and send content designed for specific groups. These tools help you create effective campaigns to boost your profits.

GetResponse comes with beautiful responsive forms, landing pages, A/B testing, tracking, and autoresponders. It also integrates with third party lead generation software like OptinMonster, SalesForce, Google Docs, ZenDesk, etc.

Support is provided by phone, live chat, and email. Their help section is full of free learning material including videos, webinars, how-tos, guides, etc.

GetResponse offers a 30-day free trial. Their pricing starts at $15/month.

7. Mailchimp

Mailchimp

Mailchimp is one of the most popular email marketing service providers in the world primarily because they offer a forever free email marketing service plan.

Mailchimp comes with an easy email builder, autoresponders, segmenting contacts into groups, and simple tracking for analytics. It also allows you to setup delivery times based on user’s timezones, and you can setup segmenting based on geolocation.

You can easily integrate MailChimp with WordPress, Magento, Shopify, and many other platforms. If you are using WordPress, then see our ultimate guide to using Mailchimp and WordPress for detailed instructions.

When it comes to marketing automation features, Mailchimp platform is quite limited when compared to other providers in our list such as Drip or ConvertKit.

In the recent years, Mailchimp has attempted to add many of the “advanced” features, but having tested many of these, they’re not truly advanced.

Mailchimp support is offered by email, live chat, and a large tutorials knowledge-base.

Mailchimp offers a forever free plan which allows you to send 12,000 emails for up to 2,000 subscribers. This plan is fairly limited because you don’t features like send-time optimization, advanced segmentation, multi-variate testing, etc. You are also required to display their branding in your email. Last but not least, support is restricted to email only, and you may find it not as helpful.

Their paid plans start from $10/month for up to 500 subscribers, and the pricing increases in the increment of 500 subscribers.

Final Thoughts: The Best Email Marketing Service

There are dozens of email marketing services out there, and we want to make sure you choose the right one for your business needs. Below is our expert pick:

If you’re a small business, non-profit, or a new blogger, then we recommend using Constant Contact. Their top-notch support and onboarding will help you find success with email marketing.

If you run an online store or want something more advanced, then we recommend using Drip. Their personalization and automation features are extremely powerful. A lot of our own businesses use Drip, and we will be switching the WPBeginner website to use Drip as well in 2019.

If you’re a professional blogger or content creator, then we recommend using ConvertKit. They offer an easy to use platform with advanced segmentation and funnels that will help you take your blogging business to the next level.

Pro Tip: Get More Email Subscribers, Faster!

Once you have picked an email marketing service for your business, you’ll likely want to start getting more email subscribers.

We use and recommend OptinMonster. It is a powerful conversion optimization toolkit that helps you convert abandoning website visitors into email subscribers and customers.

OptinMonster

OptinMonster seamlessly integrates with all the best email marketing service that we mentioned above and dozens more.

WPBeginner founder, Syed Balkhi, is also the co-founder of OptinMonster. He initially built this toolkit to help grow our own email list, but since then it has tremendously grown in popularity.

Today OptinMonster is being used by some of the largest brands in the world including McAfee, Experian, TripAdvisor, Pinterest, Harvard University, Pateron, and more.

We hope this article gave you a good overview of the best email marketing services for your business. You may also want to see our list of 24 must have WordPress plugins for business 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.





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Which is the Best WordPress Photo Gallery Plugin? (Performance + Quality Compared)


Are you looking for the best WordPress gallery plugin for your website?

There are so many WordPress photo gallery plugins available, but the problem is that most will either slow down your website, or they’re extremely difficult to use.

To help you pick the right solution, we have created a detailed comparison of the performance, features, and quality of the best WordPress photo gallery plugins.

Our goal is to help you find the WordPress photo and video gallery plugin, that is fast, easy to use, and has all the features you will need.

Best WordPress Gallery Plugins

Our Criteria for the Best WordPress Gallery Plugin

In our opinion, a perfect WordPress gallery plugin should be fast, easy to use, and have all the necessary features that you need to create beautiful galleries (such as lightboxes, image navigation, albums, pagination, etc).

The gallery plugin should offer a great user experience and help improve your image SEO as well.

4 Best WordPress Gallery Plugins

We have hand-picked the four most popular WordPress photo gallery plugins on the market.

In our comparison, we will look at the speed, features, ease of use, and reliability of these plugins:

Let’s get started with our comparison.

Speed

Speed is crucial when you are choosing a WordPress photo gallery plugin. Not only does it affect your WordPress SEO, but it also affects user experience on your site.

If you are using a gallery plugin for a portfolio or photography site, then you simply cannot afford to compromise on speed.

We ran a speed test for each of these plugins using the same images without modifying any default settings. Below are our results:

Gallery Plugin Page Load Time Requests Page Size
Envira Gallery 655 ms 23 988KB
Modula 696 ms 28 948 KB
NextGEN 867 ms 35 1.0 MB
FooGallery 917 ms 27 591 KB

As you can see in the above results, Envira Gallery came out as the fastest loading WordPress image gallery plugin. Modula came as a very close second with barely few milliseconds difference and with smaller page size.

The reason why Envira Gallery and Modula are so fast is that they are both well coded and highly optimized for speed. If performance and speed is your main concern (which it should be), then Modula and Envira Gallery are both great options.

Winner: It’s a tie between Envira Gallery and Modula

Ease of Use

Creating image galleries is not as simple as uploading a single image to your posts. You need to choose layouts, select columns, add thumbnail sizes, choose lightbox animations, etc.

Most beginners find the process quite overwhelming. The goal here is to find a WordPress photo gallery plugin that is both powerful and beginner friendly at the same time.

Envira Gallery

Envira Gallery follows and adheres to the WordPress coding standards and best practices. It provides a user interface that seamlessly blends into your WordPress admin area.

Creating a new gallery is quite simple and beginner friendly.

Envira Gallery user interface

Envira Gallery also comes with a Gutenberg block allowing you to easily add photo galleries into any WordPress post and page. You can also change gallery settings right from the post edit screen.

Gutenberg block for Envira Gallery

Classic editor users can use the shortcode or the button above the post editor to quickly add any gallery or album in your post/page.

Aside from that Envira Gallery also shows you the template tag that you can use it in your WordPress templates. This is particularly handy if you are developing a site for a client and want to include galleries straight into the theme.

Modula

Modula Gallery uses a similar approach to create new photo galleries. You can simply upload your files or select them from the media library to create a photo gallery.

Modula Gallery user interface

Below the images, you will find all gallery settings organized in tabs. From here you can change gallery style, theme, lightbox, and other settings.

To insert the gallery into WordPress posts and pages, you will need to copy the gallery shortcode and insert it using the Shortcode block in the Gutenberg editor.

There are no sidebar widgets or Gutenberg blocks at the moment to make it easier for users to insert Galleries.

FooGallery

FooGallery takes the similar approach as Envira Gallery and Modula. They use a simple user interface that looks and feels like WordPress.

FooGallery user interface

After uploading your photos, you can adjust the gallery settings in great details below the images.

FooGallery also makes it easy to insert photo galleries. You can use the built-in Gutenberg block, shortcode, or sidebar widget to display your photo galleries anywhere in WordPress. It also adds a button on top of the Classic Editor to select and insert galleries.

Unlike Envira Gallery, FooGallery does not show the template tag to insert your galleries into theme files or templates.

NextGEN Gallery

NextGEN is a little different than our other three contenders. It brings its own user interface, database tables, and separate folders to store your images. This is why NextGEN user interface looks a bit complicated in WordPress.

NextGen UI

It does offer a gallery wizard which can be helpful for beginners. However, it will take users some time to understand how to upload images and create a gallery. You may also find it a bit difficult to add the gallery into your post/page.

NextGen adds a Gutenberg block which allows you to create and add galleries from the post edit screen. For classic editor users, it adds a button to the post editor.

Winner: No clear winner. Envira, Modula, and Foo Gallery all offer easy to use interface.

Features

In order to create a beautiful photo gallery, you need functionality like lightboxes, full-screen mode, albums, pagination, navigation, slideshow, password protection, EXIF metadata, social media sharing, and more.

However it’s important to remember that too many features can slow down your site, so let’s take a look at how our contenders handle the balance in features and functionality.

Envira Gallery

Envira Gallery is built with a mobile first approach. This means that it is fully responsive out of the box.

It allows you to easily choose thumbnail sizes, animations, gallery layouts, add meta tags for your images all from the single user interface.

Apart from the built-in features, there are loads of features that you can add by installing addons such as: gallery templates, social sharing, videos, password protection, image protection, albums, slideshow, Pinterest, image proofing, WooCommerce support, and more.

Envira Gallery features

Modula

Modula is the newest of all plugins on our list, so they do not have the advanced features. However the plugin does cover all the basic features you’ll want from a WordPress gallery plugin like lightbox popup, social sharing, custom styles, grid layouts, and more.

It comes with a custom grid feature which allows you to use simple drag and drop to create your own custom grid for galleries.

It also has a video addon for creating video galleries. However, Modula is lacking other features like albums, watermarking, proofing, and gallery templates.

Modula features

FooGallery

FooGallery comes with a lot of powerful features however it is not mobile responsive out of the box. You can select the responsive template to add a responsive photo gallery.

Another feature that we missed is the lightbox. You can install the free Foobox plugin to add lightbox functionality, but we felt that it should have been packaged with the core gallery plugin.

FooGallery also comes with extensions that you can install to add more features such as custom branding, cube effect, lightbox, and more.

FooGallery features

NextGEN Gallery

NextGEN Gallery is the oldest of all four plugins, and it comes with an extensive list of features.

Many of the features that are available as addons in Envira and Foo, are available out of the box in NextGEN gallery. There are also premium addons with more features that you can install.

Most NextGen features require a certain level of familiarity with the plugin. Users will need some time to figure things out, reading the documentation, and posting questions in support forums.

Winner: Envira Gallery is the clear winner here with its extensive list of features that cover all the basics + advanced features for photographers, eCommerce websites, and portfolios. NextGEN is the close second with a matching set of features.

Compatability

WordPress provides you the freedom to move your site from one web host to another and even to different competitors.

We need to see if you can easily import/export and backup your photo gallery data.

Envira Gallery

Envira stores all your photo galleries as custom post types in the WordPress database. It stores your media files using the default WordPress media location. This means if you backup your WordPress site, then you will have all Envira Gallery data backed up.

Envira also allows you to import/export your individual galleries. This means that you can move a single gallery from one WordPress site to another.

Import / Export photo galleries using Envira Gallery

When you move your WordPress site, Envira will automatically detect it and will show you an option to fix the migration. All these features make Envira Gallery the most reliable photo gallery plugin for WordPress.

Modula

Modula also uses a custom WordPress content type to store your photo galleries. This means you can save your photo galleries with your WordPress backup and restore them when you restore WordPress site from backup.

Modula doesn’t allow you to import/export individual galleries.

FooGallery

Similar to Envira, FooGallery also stores your galleries as custom post types in the WordPress database. If you backup your WordPress site, then you will have a FooGallery data backup as well.

However, if you just want to export individual galleries, then there is no option for that because the plugin doesn’t come with an import/export feature.

NextGEN Gallery

NextGEN gallery does not come with import/export feature. Since it stores your data in separate database tables, this means you will need to configure your WordPress backup plugin to include those tables.

NextGEN also stores your images in a separate folder. If you want to create a backup for them, then you will need to download the folder separately to your computer.

Both Envira and FooGallery offer NextGen importers to make it easy for users to switch to their platform.

Winner: Enivra Gallery offers the most comprehensive set of tools to import/export your photo galleries.

Pricing

All four plugins have a free WordPress gallery version available in the WordPress plugin directory. All four of them have paid upgrades available with more features. The pricing of your photo gallery plugin will depend on which plan you want to use for any of these plugins. You can choose a plan based on the features you need after trying the free versions.

Winner: No clear winners here – the pricing of products will vary based on what features you need and plan that you select.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a simple and fast solution, then Envira Gallery and Modula Gallery are both great options for a WordPress gallery plugin.

If you need the advanced features and don’t mind a learning curve, then NextGen gallery is your best option.

We hope this article helped you pick the best WordPress gallery plugin for your website. You may also want to see our expert-pick 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 and join us on Facebook.

The post Which is the Best WordPress Photo Gallery Plugin? (Performance + Quality Compared) appeared first on WPBeginner.



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How to Get a Free SSL Certificate for Your WordPress Website (Beginner’s Guide)


Did you know that Google shows all non-SSL websites as “Not Secure”. This means that if you are not using a SSL certificate on your website, then you’ll lose customers trust.

Because SSL certificate helps protect your website data, it’s actually a requirement for accepting payments online.

Normally, paid SSL certificates are quite expensive. If you are just starting a blog or making a DIY business website, then you likely want to keep costs low.

Luckily, there are multiple ways to get a free SSL certificate to reduce your website cost. In this article, we will show you how to easily get a free SSL certificate for your WordPress website and set it up all by yourself.

Getting a free SSL certificate for your WordPress site

We will also cover the following topics:

  • What is an SSL Certificate?
  • Why You need an SSL certificate for Your WordPress Site
  • How does SSL certificate work to keep information secure
  • How much SSL certificates cost
  • How you can get a free SSL certificate
  • How to Install a free SSL certificate in WordPress

Ready? Let’s get started.

What is SSL?

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. It is an internet protocol for securing data transfer between a user’s browser and the website they are visiting.

Every internet user transfers information when they visit websites. This information can often be sensitive like payment details, credit card information, or login credentials.

Using the normal HTTP protocol means this information can be hijacked by hackers. This is where SSL or HTTPS comes in.

Websites need an SSL certificate issued by one of the recognized certificate issuing authority. This certificate is verified and highlighted in the user’s browser address bar with a padlock sign and HTTPS instead of HTTP.

Address bar showing SSL secure padlock icon with HTTPs

Do I Need an SSL Certificate for My WordPress Website?

SSL / HTTPS is recommended for all websites on the internet. However, it is absolutely required for all websites that collect user information like login details, payment information, credit cards, and more.

If you are running an e-commerce store, a membership website, or require users to login, then you need to get an SSL certificate right away.

Most online payment services require your website to use SSL/HTTPs before you can receive payments.

Apart from security, SSL certificate also creates a positive impression of your brand among your users. Google also recommends using SSL, and research shows that SSL-enabled websites rank slightly higher in search results.

Last but not least, if your website is not using an SSL certificate, then Google Chrome will show your users that your website is not secure.

Not secure label shown in Google Chrome web browser

This icon affects your brand image and user’s trust on your website.

How Does SSL Certificate Work?

Now that we have explained what is SSL and why is it important, you might be wondering how does an SSL certificate actually works?

SSL protects information by encrypting the data transfer between a user’s browser and the website.

When a user visits an SSL/HTTPs website, their browser first verifies if the website’s SSL certificate is valid.

If everything checks out, then the browser uses the website’s public key to encrypt the data. This data is then sent back to the intended server (website) where it is decrypted using the public key and a secret private key.

How SSL works to protect data transfer

How Much Do SSL Certificates Cost?

Cost of SSL Certificates differs from one certificate authority to another. Their pricing could be anywhere between $50-200 / year. Some providers offer add-on services with their certificates which may also affect the cost of your SSL certificate.

If you are going to purchase an SSL certificate, then we recommend GoDaddy. They are the largest domain name registration service in the world, managing more than 77 million domains.

They offer simple SSL certificate plans starting from $74.99 / year. After you have purchased an SSL certificate, you can ask your hosting provider to install it for you.

But before you do that, you should check to see if you can get the SSL certificate for free.

How Can I Get an SSL Certificate for Free?

A lot of website owners are reluctant to use SSL due to the additional cost. This left many small websites vulnerable to data and information theft.

A non-profit project called Let’s Encrypt decided to fix this by establishing a free certificate authority.

The purpose of this certificate authority is to make it easier for website owners to get a free SSL certificate. Internet becomes a safer place if more and more websites start using SSL.

Due to the significance of the project, it quickly earned the support of major companies like Google, Facebook, Shopify, WordPress.com and many others.

The challenge is that installing the free SSL certificate by Let’s Encrypt for a beginner user is quite difficult because it requires coding knowledge and server systems knowledge.

Thankfully, all of the best WordPress hosting companies are now offering free SSL certificate with all their hosting plans (some are using Let’s Encrypt).

Choosing one of these providers will save you from the hassle of installing the free SSL certificate on your own.

Here are the top WordPress hosting companies that offer free SSL certificate with their hosting plans.

If you are already using one of these companies, then you can turn on your free SSL certificate from your hosting dashboard. Simply login to your hosting account’s cPanel dashboard and scroll down to the ‘Security’ section.

Enable free SSL certificate from cPanel

Bluehost users will find the free SSL option by visiting My Sites » Manage Site page. From here, you can switch to the security tab and turn on free SSL certificate for your website.

Bluehost free SSL

Depending on your hosting company, your web hosting control panel may look different than the screenshot above. If you are having trouble locating the free SSL option, then you can ask your hosting provider to enable it for you.

If your web hosting company does not offer free SSL, then you can easily follow our guide to switch your hosting and move your sites to one of the companies above.

Installing Free SSL Certificate and Setting up WordPress

Once you have enabled your free SSL Certificate, you will need to set up WordPress to start using HTTPS instead of HTTP in all your URLs.

The easiest way to do this is by installing and activating the Really Simple SSL plugin on your website. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, the plugin will check to see if your SSL certificate is enabled. After that, it will turn on HTTP to HTTPS redirect and change your website settings to start using SSL/HTTPs.

SSL enabled in WordPress

To make your website completely secure, you need to make sure that URLs of your website are loading using the HTTPS protocol. Really Simple SSL plugin does that automatically by fixing the URLs when the page loads.

Even if a single URL still loads using the insecure HTTP protocol, then browsers will treat your entire website as not fully secure.

Connection not fully secure

To fix these URLs, you will need to use your browser’s inspect tool to find them and then replace them with the correct HTTPs URLs. For more on this, see our tutorial on how to fix mixed content error in WordPress.

Really Simple SSL Plugin makes it super easy to set up free SSL certificate in WordPress. That’s why we recommend it for all beginners.

However, it catches insecure URLs when the page loads, which increases your page load time a little bit. This is why advanced users who are concerned about WordPress speed uses the manual method to setup their free SSL certificate.

We have created detailed step by step instructions to help you properly switch WordPress from HTTP to HTTPS (which shows both the manual method and the plugin method).

We hope this article helped you learn how to get a free SSL certificate for your WordPress site. You may also want to see our step by step guide on how to create free business email address for your 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 How to Get a Free SSL Certificate for Your WordPress Website (Beginner’s Guide) appeared first on WPBeginner.





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6 Best Drag and Drop WordPress Page Builders Compared (2019)


Looking for an easy way to build and customize your WordPress site? That’s where drag and drop WordPress page builder plugins come in handy.

WordPress page builders allow you to create, edit, and customize your website layout without writing any code. In this article, we will compare the 6 best drag and drop page builders for WordPress.

Best Drag and Drop WordPress Page Builders

Why Use a Drag and Drop Page Builder for WordPress?

When starting a blog, many beginners find it difficult to customize their WordPress page layouts.

While a lot of premium WordPress themes come with different page layouts, most of them are extremely hard to customize for anyone who does not know code (HTML / CSS).

This is why users often ask us questions like: “how can we make WordPress drag and drop?” or “is there an easy drag and drop page builder for WordPress?”

When we talk with people who switch from Weebly to WordPress or from Wix to WordPress, their most common response is: “I wish WordPress had a drag and drop website builder”.

Well, there are several great drag and drop page builder plugins available for WordPress. They allow you to create completely custom website designs in WordPress without writing a single line of code.

Since there are so many different WordPress page builder plugins in the market, we decided to compare and rank the top WordPress page builders, so you can choose the right solution for your need.

Our criteria for comparing these WordPress page builders are: ease of use, flexibility, and the design output.

Having said that, let’s take a look at the best page builders for WordPress in the market.

1. Beaver Builder

Beaver Builder best WordPress page builder plugin

Beaver Builder is a premium drag and drop page builder plugin for WordPress. In our opinion, it is by far the best WordPress page builder in the market.

It is extremely fast and comes with a built in onboarding tour to help you quickly familiarize with their interface.

Beaver Builder comes with a live drag and drop interface. You get to see all your changes as you add them by simply dragging elements from the right sidebar and dropping them on your page. You can click on any element on a page to edit its properties.

There are modules that let you add almost everything you may want including sliders, carousel, backgrounds, content blocks, buttons, and more.

It also comes with over 30 finely designed templates for landing pages that makes it super-easy and super-fast to create stunning website layouts.

We find Beaver Builder to be very beginner friendly. Check out our tutorial on how to create custom WordPress layouts with Beaver Builder.

Wondering if it’s compatible with the new WordPress version? Yes, it is.

Beaver Builder has been updated well along the Gutenberg project. So, it works fine with your new Gutenberg editor.

Pricing: Starting from $99 for Unlimited Sites.

Our Grade: A+

Review: Beaver Builder is the easiest page builder option in the market. It comes with pre-made templates to help you get started. The ability to customize every little detail makes it the perfect solution for WordPress users.

2. Divi

Divi Builder Drag and Drop WordPress Page Builder plugin

Divi is a drag and drop theme and WordPress page builder plugin. It is extremely easy to use and comes with 20+ layouts/templates for different kind of websites.

Just like the Beaver Builder, the Divi Builder is a visual drag and drop page builder, a true WYSIWYG editor (what you see is what you get).

You can directly click on your page and start editing with the real-time preview of all changes. You don’t need to save and click preview to see your new design.

Divi comes with 46 content modules that you can drag and drop anywhere in your layout. You can arrange them in 3 section types, 20 row types, and customize each element using its advanced design settings.

With Divi, you can create any type of custom page layout that you want within minutes. You can then save these Divi layouts for future use on your site. You can also export a layout from one Divi installation into another.

The Divi Builder plugin is the backbone of the Divi theme, yet it works well with any other WordPress theme.

Best of all, Divi has the best pricing out of all options in this. For a single price, you’ll get the Divi theme, the Divi page builder plugin, and all other Elegant Themes products.

This means you can use the Divi theme or install the Divi Builder plugin on any other theme.

Pricing: Starting from $89 per year

Our Grade: A

Review: Divi is a great Beaver Builder alternative. It has a powerful page builder with limitless design possibilities. Their large number of content modules allow you to create literally any type of website that you really want.

3. Visual Composer Website Builder

Visual Composer Website Builder plugin

Visual Composer Website Builder is a user-friendly WordPress website editor that helps you create custom website layouts, fast.

It comes with a simple drag and drop builder, out of box content elements, professional templates, and a host of powerful features to make a website.

Similar to Beaver Builder and Divi, it also provides real frontend editing experience for designing a website. But there’s a lot more you can do with this plugin. Unlike other plugins in the list, Visual Composer Website Builder allows you to edit your logo, menus, headers, footers, sidebars, etc.

That’s why the team decides to call it a website builder, instead of just a page builder.

The plugin features powerful design options to customize the appearance of any element on your page. You have easy options to add stylish backgrounds including parallax, gradient, slideshow, carousel, zoom in/out, video, etc. It also comes with flexible rows and columns for creating grid layouts on your site.

Visual Composer works well with all WordPress themes. This allows you to switch your themes without losing custom layouts that you created with Visual Composer.

It also includes support for the new Gutenberg editor, Google Fonts, and Yoast SEO.

Visual Composer is designed for professionals, and it’s evident by their attention to details such as remembering your color choices, which allows you to easily use the same color palette for consistency throughout your design.

Pricing: $59 For One Site License

Our Grade: A

Review: Visual Composer is a great plugin for beginners to start a website. It provides powerful features for website making in a simple manner. Website editing is made super simple with the real frontend drag and drop editor.

4. Themify Builder

Themify Page Builder Plugin for WordPress

Themify is a popular WordPress theme shop that offer a built-in Themify builder with all of their WordPress themes. For other non-Themify WordPress themes, you can get the Themify Page Builder plugin.

This simple and highly intuitive page builder comes with several ready to use modules that you can add to your pages or posts. Many of these modules usually require you to install separate WordPress plugins.

The plugin includes 40+ pre-designed layouts for different industries like gym, restaurant, portfolio, music, photography as well as online shops.

You can import a layout with one click, change its content, and build an awesome landing page within minutes.

Themify Builder allows you to edit your pages from the admin area as well as from your live site. With live editing, you get to see exactly how your changes will appear on the site.

Apart from that, Themify Builder comes with ready-to-use layouts that you can quickly apply to your page.

Pricing: $39 For the Builder Addon Bundle (The core plugin is free)

Our Grade: B

Review: Themify Builder is a reliable page builder plugin for WordPress. While the builder comes with promising features, there is a learning curve that can leave a new user frustrated.

5. Elementor

Elementor WordPress Drag and Drop Page Builder plugin

Elementor is another powerful drag and drop WordPress page builder plugin.

It is a live page builder plugin which means you get to see your changes live as you edit it with Elementor. Simply start by creating sections and select the number of columns for each section.

You can then drag and drop widgets from the left panel to your section. Elementor comes with tons of widgets including most commonly used website elements.

From basic image and text widgets to advanced accordions, sliders, testimonials, icons, social media, tabs, etc. Each widget comes with its own settings.

Elementor will also let you add widgets created by other WordPress plugins.

Don’t want to build your own layout?

Elementor comes with many ready-to-use templates that you can easily insert into your pages. You can simply point and click to edit any item on the page, replace the content, and you’re done.

Pricing: Starting from $49 for single site license.

Our Grade: B

Review: Elementor is a popular page builder plugin for WordPress. It is fast, easy to use, and comes with tons of modules / templates.

The biggest thing that we don’t like about Elementor is that their license is very restrictive. If you’re a freelancer or agency looking to use Elementor on client websites, please know that their Pro version is not GPL.

You’re better off using Beaver Builder, Divi, or Visual Composer because they respect the WordPress standards and freedoms.

6. Page Builder by SiteOrigin

Page Builder Plugin by SiteOrigin

With more than one million active installs, Site Origin’s Page Builder is a popular free WordPress page builder on the market. One of the primary reason for its popularity is the price (free). It is available as a fully functional free plugin.

Site Origin Page Builder is a little complicated to use, and new users often struggle to get familiar with it. However we had to include in our list because of it’s popularity.

For components, Site Origin Page Builder allows you to use WordPress widgets. It comes with several widgets of its own, and you can download and install any widget.

See our list of the 25 most useful WordPress widgets because you can use all of them with this page builder.

It also comes with a history tool which allows you to switch back and forth to undo/redo changes that you made. This is a huge time saver, and it gives you a peace of mind knowing that you can revert and undo changes.

The SiteOrigin plugin and all its widgets are fully Gutenberg compatible. There’s also a new SiteOrigin layout block that you can use as a Gutenberg block.

Pricing: Free

Our Grade: C

Review: Site Origin Page Builder is a good free plugin with a drag-and-drop interface to create and customize layouts. Although the live editing is not comparable to other solutions mentioned in this comparison.

Final Thoughts: Best WordPress Page Builder Plugin

As we compared different drag and drop WordPress page builders, one thing became very clear. Beaver Builder and Divi are clearly the top choice.

Visual Composer is a close third option that offer a complete drag & drop WordPress page builder.

If you don’t mind spending a little bit money to get the best solution in the market along with guaranteed support, then go for any of these three, and you won’t regret it.

Do I still Need a Page Builder if I am Using the New WordPress Block Editor?

Recently we’re getting a lot of users asking us this question.

WordPress block editor also known as Gutenberg was officially launched as the new default WordPress editor. The new editor uses blocks which are content elements for creating pages and posts.

Superficially, the block editor looks similar to some of the WordPress page builders above.

Gutenberg blocks most used

Hence there’re hot discussions going on in WordPress about Gutenberg and page builders.

Is Gutenberg a page builder? Does the Gutenberg block editor replace the WordPress page builders? And, do I still need a page builder if I am using the new WordPress block editor?

Well, the answer to the first two questions is ‘No, not quite yet.’

And, Yes, you will need a page builder if you want an easy way to create completely custom WordPress designs.

Gutenberg in its current form is no match to the powerful features these “true” WordPress page builder plugins offer.

Having that said, you can use a plugin like CSS Hero with Gutenberg and probably get away without using a true page builder, but it entirely depends on your needs.

A lot of our readers love using CSS Hero for quick and easy website customization. Read our full CSS Hero review to see if it’s a suitable solution for your needs.

We hope this article helped you find the best WordPress drag and drop page builder plugins for your site. You may also want to see our comparison to find the best WordPress contact form plugins.

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 6 Best Drag and Drop WordPress Page Builders Compared (2019) appeared first on WPBeginner.





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How to Move WordPress to a New Host or Server With No Downtime


Are you planning to move your WordPress site to a new hosting company or a different server? The biggest risk when switching web hosting or migrating a website to a new server is data loss and downtime.

Both of these can make your website temporarily inaccessible to users and search engines which can result in loss of sales and search engine rankings.

In this step by step tutorial, we will show you how to safely migrate your WordPress site to a new host without any downtime.

We’ll also answer the most frequently asked questions about moving a WordPress site to new hosting provider, so you can avoid making some common mistakes.

Migrating WordPress from one host to another

Important: Before we start, we want you to know that a lot of WordPress hosting companies offer a free migration service. It might not be listed on their website, so all you have to do is ask. Usually it’s free, but some may charge a small fee.

Having that said, let’s take a look at the steps we’ll cover to move WordPress to a new hosting server (without any downtime).

  1. Choose a new WordPress host
  2. Setup the Duplicator Plugin for Easy Migration
  3. Import your WordPress site to the new host
  4. Change the Hosts file to prevent downtime
  5. Create a MySQL database on your new host
  6. Run Duplicator website migration script
  7. Updating your domain name server
  8. FAQs about moving WordPress to new host

Ready? Let’s get started.

Step 1: Choose Your New WordPress Host

If you are stuck with a slow web host even after optimizing WordPress speed and performance, then it’s time to move your WordPress site to a new host that can handle your growing traffic.

When looking for a new WordPress hosting provider, it’s important to choose carefully, so you don’t have to move again any time soon.

Here’s who we recommend:

  • For reliable shared hosting, we recommend going with Bluehost. They’re officially recommended by WordPress.org. Using our Bluehost coupon, WPBeginner users get 60% off and a free domain name.
  • If you’re looking for cloud hosting or location-specific providers, then we recommend you check out Siteground. They have data centers across 3 different continents.
  • If you’re looking for managed WordPress hosting, then we recommend you check out WP Engine. They are the best and most well-known provider in the industry.

After buying your new hosting, do NOT install WordPress. We’ll do that in a later step.

For now, your new web hosting account should be completely empty with no files or folders in your main directory.

Step 2: Setup Duplicator for Easy Migration

The first thing you need to do is install and activate the free Duplicator plugin on the website that you want to move. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Duplicator is a free plugin that we highly recommend. You can also use it to move your website to a new domain name without losing SEO.

However, in this article, we will walk you through how to use it to migrate your WordPress site from one host to another with zero downtime.

Once you have installed and activated Duplicator, go to the Duplicator » Packages page in your WordPress admin area.

Next, you need to click the ‘Create New’ button in the top right corner.

Creating a new package in Duplicator

After that, click the Next button and follow the steps to create your package.

Duplicator create a package wizard

Make sure that your scan results check out (everything should say “Good”), and then click the Build button.

Build package

The process may take several minutes to complete, so leave the tab open as the plugin does its job.

Once the process is complete, you’ll see download options for Installer and the Archive package. You need to click on the ‘One click download’ link to download both files.

Download package files

The archive file is a copy of your complete website, and the installer file will automate the installation process for you.

Step 3: Import Your WordPress Site to the New Host

Now that you have downloaded both the archive and installer files, the next step is to upload them to your new web host.

You can do this by connecting to your new web host using FTP.

If you’ve never done this before, check out our beginner’s guide to uploading files via FTP to WordPress.

Normally, you would enter your website’s domain name as host when connecting your FTP client.

However, since your domain name is still pointing to your old host, you’ll need to connect by entering your server’s IP address or server hostname. You can find this information from your new hosting account’s cPanel dashboard.

Finding server IP or Hostname in cPanel dashboard

If you are unable to find this information, then you can ask for support at your new web hosting company, and they will help you out.

Using the FTP client, you need to upload both installer.php file and your archive .zip file to the root directory of your website.

This is usually /username/public_html/ folder.

Again, if you are not sure, then ask your web hosting company.

Make sure that your root directory is completely empty. Some web hosting companies automatically install WordPress when you sign up.

If you have WordPress installed in your root directory, then you need to delete WordPress first.

Once done, you need to upload both the archive zip file and installer.php file to your site’s root directory.

Step 4: Change The Hosts File to Prevent Downtime

Once you’ve uploaded both files to your new host, you need to access the installer.php file in a browser.

Normally, this file can be accessed using a URL like this:

http://www.example.com/installer.php

However, this URL will take you to your old web host, and you will get a 404 error. This is because your domain name is still pointing to your old web host.

Normally, other tutorials might tell you to change your domain nameservers and point it to your new hosting company, but that’s wrong.

If you do this now, then your visitors will see a broken website as you migrate it.

We’ll show you how you can access your new site temporarily on your computer, without affecting your old site.

This is done with a hosts file on your computer.

The hosts file can be used to map domain names to specific IP addresses. In other words, it lets you trick your computer in thinking that the website is moved even though it’s not.

Let’s take a look at how to add an entry for your domain name in the hosts file, so that it points to your new hosting company.

Making these changes will allow you to access the files on your new host using your own domain name, while the rest of the world will still be accessing your site from the old host. This ensures 100% uptime.

The first thing you need to do is find the IP address of your new web hosting server. To find this, you need to log into your cPanel dashboard and click on expand stats link in the left-hand sidebar. Your server’s address will be listed as Shared IP Address.

On some web hosting companies, you will find this information under ‘Account Information’ heading.

Find shared IP address

In the next step, Windows users need to go to Programs » All Programs » Accessories, right-click on Notepad and select Run as Administrator.

A Windows UAC prompt will appear, and you need to click on Yes to launch Notepad with administrator privileges.

On the Notepad screen, go to File » Open and then navigate to the C:WindowsSystem32driversetc folder. From this folder, select hosts file and open it.

If you’re using Mac, then you need to open the Terminal app and enter this command to edit hosts file:

sudo nano /private/etc/hosts

For both Windows and Mac users, at the bottom of the hosts file, you need to enter the IP address you copied and then enter your domain name. Like this:

192.168.1.22 www.example.com

Make sure that you replace the IP address with the one you copied from cPanel, and example.com with your own domain name.

Once you’re done, save your changes.

You can now access your files on the new host using your domain name on your computer.

Important: Don’t forget to undo the changes you made to hosts file after you have finished the migration (step 6).

Step 5: Creating MySQL Database on Your New Host

Before we run the installer on the new host, you will need to create a MySQL database on your new hosting account. If you have already created a MySQL database, then you can jump to the next step.

Creating a Database in cPanel

Go to your new hosting account’s cPanel dashboard, scroll down to Databases section and click on MySQL databases icon.

MySQL databases in cPanel

You will see a field to create a new database. Enter a name for your database, and click “Create Database” button.

Creating new database

After creating the MySQL database, you need to scroll down to the MySQL Users section.

Next, provide a username and password for your new user and click on the ‘Create a user’ button.

Create a MySQL user

After that, you need to add this user to your database. This will give the username you just created, all the permissions to work on that database.

You can do this by scrolling down to ‘Add User to a Database’ section. Simply select the database user you created from the dropdown menu next to user, then select database, and click on the add button.

Add user to database

Your database is now ready to be used with WordPress. Be sure to make note of the database name, username, and password. You’ll need that information in the next step.

Step 6: Begin the Duplicator Migration Process

Now we’re ready to run the installer. Navigate to the following address in your browser window, replacing example.com with your domain name:

http://www.example.com/installer.php

Duplicator installer initialized

The installer will run a few tests and will show you ‘Pass’ next to archive and validation tests.

You need to check the terms & conditions checkbox and continue by clicking on the Next button.

Now, you will be asked to enter your MySQL host, database name, username, and password.

Your host will likely be localhost. After that, you will enter the details of the database you created in the previous step.

Connect to the database

You can click on the ‘Test Database’ button to make sure you entered the correct information.

If Duplicator is able to connect, then you will see a string starting with Pass. Otherwise, you will see the database connection error details.

Click on the next button to continue.

Duplicator will now import your WordPress database from the archive zip into your new database.

Next, it will ask you to update site URL or Path. Since you are not changing domain names, you DON’T need to change anything here.

Simply click on the next button to continue.

Duplicator will run the final steps and will show you the login button.

Duplicator website migration finished

You can now login to your WordPress site on the new host to make sure that everything is working as expected.

Step 7: Update Your Domain Name Servers (DNS)

At this point, you’ve created a complete copy of your WordPress database and files on your new hosting server, but your domain still points to your old web hosting account.

To update your domain, you need to switch your DNS nameservers. This ensures that your users are taken to the new location of your website when they type your domain into their browsers.

If you registered your domain with your hosting provider, then it’s best to transfer the domain to a new host. If you used a domain registrar like Domain.com, GoDaddy, etc, then you need to update your nameservers.

You will need the DNS nameserver information from your new web host. This is usually a couple of URLs that look like this:

ns1.hostname.com
ns2.hostname.com

For the sake of this guide, we will be showing you how to change DNS nameservers with GoDaddy.

Depending on your domain registrar or web host, the screenshots may look different. However, the basic concept is the same.

You need to look for domain management area and then look for nameservers. If you need assistance with updating your nameservers, then you can ask your web hosting company.

For GoDaddy, you need to login to your GoDaddy account and then click on Domains.

After that, you need to click on the Manage button next to the domain name you want to change.

Manage domain

Under the ‘Additional Settings’ section, you will need to click on ‘Manage DNS’ to continue.

Manage DNS

Next, you need to scroll down to the Nameservers section and click on the change button.

Change nameservers

First, you will need to switch the nameserver type dropdown from ‘Default’ to ‘Custom’. After that, you can fill in the your new hosting provider’s information under Nameservers.

Updating DNS nameservers

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

You have successfully changed the nameservers on your domain. DNS changes can take 4 – 48 hours to propagate for all users.

Since you have the same content on your old host and the new host, your users wouldn’t see any difference. Your WordPress migration will be seamless with absolutely no downtime.

To be on the safe side, we recommend that you wait to cancel your old hosting account until 7 days after your migration.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few questions many of our users ask while moving WordPress from one host to another.

1. Can I signup for the new hosting account without registering a domain name?

Yes, you can absolutely signup for a hosting account without registering a domain name.

Domain name and hosting are two different services, and you don’t necessarily need to register a domain name when signing up for new host. For more details see our guide on the difference between domain name and web hosting.

Some hosting providers will ask you to select a domain name as the first step when purchasing hosting. They will also allow you to enter a domain name if you already got one.

2. Do I need to transfer my domain name to the new host?

No, you don’t need to transfer your domain name to the new host. However, transferring your domain name to your new hosting will make it easier to renew and manage under the same dashboard as your new hosting account.

For more on this topic, see our ultimate guide on domain names and how do they work.

3. How do I fix error establishing database connection error in Duplicator?

If you are seeing an error connecting to the database or database connection error in Duplicator, then the most likely reason for this is that you entered incorrect information for your database connection.

Make sure that your database name, MySQL username, and password are correct. Some web hosting companies do not use localhost as the host for their MySQL servers. If this is the case, then you will need to ask your web host’s support staff to provide you with the correct information.

4. How do I check if my website is loading from the new host?

There are several online tools that allow you to see who is hosting a website. After you have transferred your website to the new host, you can use any of these tools, and they will show you the name of the web hosting company hosting your website.

If it hasn’t been long since you migrated your website and made changes to your domain name server (DNS), then chances are that your site may still load from your old host. Domain name changes can take up to 48 hours to fully propagate.

5. Do I need to delete any files or data from old host?

When switching hosting companies, we recommend that you keep your old website for at least a week. After that, you can delete files from your old web host. If you are canceling your account, then your web hosting provider will delete all your data according to their policy.

6. How long should I keep my account active on the old host?

Once you have migrated your website to the new host, and if you don’t have any other websites hosted with your old web host, then you can cancel your old web hosting account.

However, in some cases, you may have already paid them for yearly hosting. You should check their refund policy to see if you are eligible for any refund upon cancellation.

7. How do I move a WordPress site with SSL/HTTPs?

You will need to install SSL certificate on your new hosting provider. After that, you can follow the same steps mentioned above. Just make sure that you use HTTPs in the URLs, like https://example.com

8. Bonus: Free Site Migration by Your New Host

If you’re looking to switch your web hosting, but the steps above sound too complicated, then you can choose the following providers, and they will migrate your website for you.

SiteGround, InMotion Hosting, and WP Engine offer free website migration for WPBeginner users.

We hope that this step by step guide helped you move WordPress to your new host with no downtime whatsoever. If you come across any issues with your WordPress migration, then check out our guide on the most common WordPress errors and how to fix them.

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 Test Your Site for Updating to Gutenberg (WordPress 5.0)


Are you excited to use the new WordPress Gutenberg editor? Officially launched with WordPress 5.0, Gutenberg is the new default content editor for WordPress that allows you create visually stunning content using blocks.

The challenge is that some themes and plugins may not properly support Gutenberg, so updating your website can cause unexpected issues.

In this article, we’ll show you how to test your WordPress site for updating to Gutenberg and WordPress 5.0.

Testing your site for update to Gutenberg and WordPress 5.0

Why Test Your WordPress Site Before Updating to Gutenberg?

WordPress 5.0 brings a totally new way of creating content with a brand new editor called The Block Editor or Gutenberg. It uses blocks which are content elements that you can move around the editor.

New WordPress Block Editor also known as Gutenberg

WordPress 5.0 with Gutenberg editor is indeed a revolutionary improvement to the WordPress platform.

However due to this massive change, some users are reluctant to update their sites right away, fearing that something would not work, or it may break their website.

Gutenberg was developed over a long period with enough time for theme and plugin developers to make their products Gutenberg compatible. All top WordPress plugins are already fully compatible with Gutenberg and most themes would work without a hiccup.

However, to avoid any conflicts you may want to test your site with Gutenberg and WordPress 5.0. This would allow you to find if any of your plugins or theme are incompatible. You can also catch unexpected errors and fix them before updating your live site.

That being said, now let’s go ahead and check how to test your website for updating to Gutenberg or WordPress 5.0 step-by-step.

Step 1: Create a Complete Backup of Your Website

You must always create a complete back of your WordPress website before any major update. Backups protect you against any unfortunate damage that can happen during the update process.

Keeping regular website backups is important even if you aren’t updating your site because they can save you in catastrophic situations like malware attack, hacking, etc.

There are plenty of WordPress backup plugins that you can choose from. We recommend using UpdraftPlus because it allows you to setup automatic backups and store them on a remote location.

Step 2: Test Your Site on Local Server or Staging Site

After you’ve created a complete backup of your website, you are now ready to test your website with WordPress 5.0 and the new Gutenberg editor.

There are two common methods to test new updates without actually affecting your live site.

  1. Test your website on a local server installed on your computer
  2. Test your website on a staging server

Both options allow you to test WordPress 5.0 with the new Gutenberg editor with your existing content, plugin, and themes.

1. Test Your Website on Local Server

Using a local server simply means installing your WordPress site on your personal computer with a software like WAMP or MAMP (for Mac).

In this method, you’ll first move a copy of your live WordPress site to local server using a migration plugin like Duplicator.

Duplicator WordPress plugin

Then on the local site, you can update to WordPress 5.0 and test out all your plugins / themes for compatibility with the new editor.

You can also make changes on the local site and upload it to your live site when you are done.

If you didn’t need to make any changes to the local site, and everything seemed ok, then you can go ahead and update your live site to WordPress 5.0.

2. Test Your Website on Staging Environment

A staging site is a separate development version of your website where you can try out new features.

It’s usually a sub-domain of your site that’s restricted from public access. It’s where you can test new updates, themes, plugins, or use it for all your development. Once you’ve tested everything necessary, you can then upload it to your live site.

Most top WordPress hosting companies offer 1-click staging site installation from your hosting account.

If your site is hosted with Bluehost, then you’ll find an option to create a staging site under the Bluehost menu in your WordPress admin dashboard.

Creating a staging site in Bluehost

You can also create 1-click staging sites on WPEngine and SiteGround. If you are not using any of these hosting companies, then you should ask your host because they may offer this feature.

If your hosting service doesn’t have staging site installation feature, then you can still do it manually on your own. Here’s our step by step tutorial on how to create a staging environment in WordPress.

Step 3: Install the Classic Editor Plugin

The most significant change in WordPress 5.0 is the new Gutenberg editor.

This means that if you were to run into any issues, then it’ll likely be caused by a plugin or theme’s incompatibility with the new editor.

It is also possible that you may not like the new editor.

Luckily, you can update to WordPress 5.0 and still keep the classic WordPress editor.

You can simply disable Gutenberg by installing the Classic Editor plugin on your WordPress site. Doing this will allow you to safely update to WordPress 5.0, while still keeping the classic editor that you’re familiar with.

Switching to the classic editor

Classic Editor is an official WordPress plugin from WordPress core contributors to allow you to switch back to the classic editor. With this plugin, you can hide the Gutenberg editor and create content the same way as before.

If you had to install Classic Editor because a theme or plugin wasn’t working after updating to WordPress 5.0, then you still have work to do.

You need to reach out to the theme or plugin developer and request them to make it compatible with the latest WordPress release.

If you don’t get a positive response, then you need to find an alternative theme or plugin to replace incompatible ones.

Step 4. Things to Do After Updating to Gutenberg in WordPress 5.0+

If you are just starting your first WordPress blog, then you are in luck. You’ll quickly get used to the awesome new block editor which is faster, modern, and incredibly powerful.

On the other hand, if you have been using WordPress for a while, then the new editor is an exciting new experience for you.

Most of us are used to working with the old editor and have setup our workflows around it.

Good news is that you can still do all the things you did in the old editor with Gutenberg, and then some more.

To help you learn new features, we have created a complete Gutenberg tutorial it shows how to use new block editor and create visually stunning content for your site.

We hope this article helped you to learn how to test your WordPress site for updating to Gutenberg or WordPress 5.0. For troubleshooting common errors you may encounter, check out our guide on most common WordPress errors and how to fix them.

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


Squarespace and WordPress are two popular website builders that allow you to easily create a website without any technical skills or programming knowledge.

Recently, our readers asked us to compare Squarespace vs. WordPress because they were seeing a lot of commercials on TV for both platforms.

In this article, we will compare Squarespace vs. WordPress with the list of pros and cons for each platform. Our hope is that after reading our comparison, you can pick which one is better for you.

Squarespace vs WordPress comparison

Note: This comparison is between Squarespace vs self-hosted WordPress (not WordPress.com). See the difference between self-hosted WordPress vs WordPress.com.

Since we want to create the most detailed WordPress vs Squarespace comparison, we have broken down the article into multiple sections. We will look at each section and see which platform offers the most benefit to a beginner level user.

  • Ease of use
  • Costs
  • Design and templates
  • Extensions and integrations
  • E-commerce
  • Data portability
  • Languages and internationalization

Ready? Let’s get started.

Ease of Use and The Learning Curve

Most business owners and beginner-level users are not familiar with HTML, CSS, and other code related things. They want a platform that helps them easily create a website without hiring a developer.

Let’s see how both WordPress and Squarespace stack up in this category.

WordPress

WordPress is the top choice among users who want to start a blog or small business owners building a DIY website. Over 32% of all websites are powered by WordPress.

While WordPress is fairly intuitive and easy to use, there is definitely a slight learning curve.

Beginners will need to familiarize themselves with WordPress terminology and concepts such as difference between posts vs pages, categories vs tags, understanding themes and plugins.

The default WordPress content editor is fairly easy to use. It comes with custom blocks to add content elements to your pages, so you can build beautiful layouts with media-rich content.

Default WordPress editor

Despite the slight learning curve, in our experience, most users quickly adapt to WordPress.

Squarespace

Unlike WordPress, Squarespace does not come with a lot of choices. This lack of choice makes it very simple and easy to use. Even the absolute beginners can quickly write content and publish it.

Squarespace page editor

Squarespace also uses a block editor similar to WordPress. Adding images, videos, and audio files is simpler than WordPress. There are plenty of content blocks, and layout control choices in the block editor.

Squarespace lets you customize your templates and pages using a visual editor. However, you are limited to the options available in the customizer. It is a controlled environment, which means your options are limited.

Conclusion

Squarespace fares a little better than WordPress out of the box in terms of ease of use for absolute beginners. However it’s limited features might not be ideal for all business owners.

On the other hand, WordPress offers beginners a lot of choices right from the beginning which might be confusing at first, but it is a lot more flexible in the long run.

There are several WordPress page builder plugins that you can use to create completely custom websites with drag and drop (without hiring a developer).

The Costs

Knowing how much each platform cost is important in making a business decision. Let’s look at how much Squarespace cost vs. how much WordPress cost.

WordPress

WordPress itself is free. You are free to download, use, and build upon WordPress. It is an open source software with a GPL license which gives you all the freedom and control.

In order to build your website with WordPress, you will need to registar a domain and signup for a web hosting account.

Depending on your needs, you can choose a shared hosting plan, VPS hosting, or even managed WordPress hosting. Shared hosting plans work for most small personal and business websites.

See our guide on how to choose the best WordPress hosting.

The cost of web hosting and domain name vary depending on which hosting provider you go with. You are in charge of how much resources you need for your website, and how much you will pay for it.

With over 6800+ free templates and 54,000+ free plugins, you can run your website for as low as $2.75 per month (which includes your domain name and hosting – we recommend Bluehost or SiteGround).

One of the reasons for WordPress’ popularity is that the overall cost of building your website with WordPress is very low.

Apart from that, you can change your hosting plan as your site grows. This means you will only pay for the resources you actually use, so it’s easier to control the cost of your website.

We have a detailed article on the cost of building a WordPress website and how to keep it under budget.

Squarespace

The personal plan for Squarespace starts from $12 per month (billed annually) or $16 month to month. That’s a little more than a shared hosting plan for WordPress.

Squarespace pricing plans

However, unlike a shared WordPress hosting plan, this personal plan comes with very limited features. You can only add only two contributors to your site, and you cannot sell products.

Whereas you can start an online store with WordPress for less than that.

Squarespace business plan starts from $18 per month (billed annually) or $26 month to month. It includes eCommerce support, but they charge a 3% transaction fees. The business plan comes with unlimited contributors, pages, and additional advanced features.

They also have separate plans for online stores starting from $26 per month with no additional transaction fee.

Conclusion

WordPress beats Squarespace with flexible pricing plans available from a variety of web hosting services from around the world.

The cost depends on how much resources you use, and you get access to all WordPress features right out of the box.

Design and Templates

Both WordPress and Squarespace come with ready-made templates and design tools to make it easy for you to create a custom website.

Let’s see which one offers you more choices and tools to create well-designed websites.

WordPress

WordPress offers access to thousands of free and paid website templates. These templates are highly customizable, allowing you to use your own website logo, colors, upload your own images, and more.

Many WordPress themes come with multiple layout choices, drag and drop page builders, sliders, photo galleries, and tons of other features.

No matter what kind of website you are building, you will find hundreds of professionally designed templates for the job.

Wordpress themes

Many beginners find this abundance of choices a bit overwhelming. Here are some of our expert-picks of the best WordPress themes for different kind of websites.

For more on this topic, see our article on how to choose the best WordPress theme for your website.

Alternatively, you can also start with the Divi Theme which is a master theme with a lot of custom skins and complete drag & drop control.

Squarespace

Squarespace offers ready-made website templates neatly organized into different categories. There are themes for all popular website categories, with professional designs that look good on all devices.

Squarespace templates

However, this is a big area where Squarespace seriously falls behind. The number of pre-made templates are very limited, and your design options are also limited to the set of features available in the Squarespace customizer.

Themes come with a limited number of layout choices with each template. You can still do basic colors, fonts, website logo, and other things, but these templates are not as customizable as WordPress themes.

Conclusion

WordPress comes out as a clear winner in terms of design choices, customization options, and flexibility. Squarespace offers great looking templates, but they are limited in numbers and are not very flexible.

Extensions and Integrations

Extensions

All website builders come with a collection of built-in features. As your website grows, you would want to add more features and connect your site to work with third-party tools and services.

Let’s see how WordPress and Squarespace perform in this regard.

WordPress

The real power of WordPress comes from its massive ecosystem of plugins. These plugins are like apps for your WordPress site that you can install to add new features or change the default behavior of your site.

There are currently more than 54,000+ free WordPress plugins listed in WordPress.org plugin directory alone. There are also thousands of premium WordPress plugins available from third-party websites.

WordPress plugins

If you can think of a feature, there is a good chance that you’ll easily find a WordPress plugin that does it.

WordPress plugins are so robust that many of them are full-fledged platforms with their own add-on plugins and a thriving community built around them.

We have a list of the essential WordPress plugins that every website should have.

Then you have specialized plugins to create ecommerce websites, build membership community, sell online courses, and more.

To learn more see our article on how to choose the best WordPress plugin.

Because WordPress is the most popular website builder, most third-party services and tools have their own WordPress plugins which integrate their services to a WordPress website.

All top email marketing services, SEO tools, live chat software, and lead generation tools offer seamless integration with WordPress.

Squarespace

Squarespace comes nowhere close to WordPress when it comes to extensibility and integrations.

It is possible to add third-party integrations and customizations but unlike WordPress, Squarespace doesn’t have powerful APIs that developers can build upon.

Squarespace integrations

They do provide some official third-party integrations, but even those are limited and not all popular services are supported.

For eCommerce, you can use their built-in platform, but you cannot extend it in any way.

Squarespace lacks the functionality to allow custom websites that you might need for your online business idea.

Conclusion

WordPress is the clear winner here with an incredible ecosystem of thousands of plugins and integrations at your fingertips. Squarespace, on the other hand, has very few integrations and many of them are very limited.

E-commerce

Are you building an online store? Let’s compare the eCommerce functionality of WordPress vs. Squarespace.

WordPress

WordPress allows you to integrate and use any payment processor or platform you want.

There are many WordPress plugins that allow you to easily accept online payments using Stripe, PayPal, Google Checkout, 2Checkout, Payoneer, Skrill, and even Bitcoin.

eCommerce

WordPress has plenty of eCommerce plugins that can turn your website into an online store within minutes. World’s most popular eCommerce platform, WooCommerce, is a WordPress plugin.

WooCommerce comes with its own ecosystem with its own WooCommerce add-ons and thousands of WooComemrce ready themes.

There is no limit on how many products you add to your website, how you display them, or how you sell them. You can run your own affiliate program and use all the tricks to grow your sales without any restrictions.

Squarespace

E-commerce is limited on Squarespace. You can only use Stripe and PayPal for payment processing, which are only available in select few countries.

There is no other payment system available which restricts your ability to accept payments from a larger global audience. For a growing business, starting with such limitations is not a great idea.

Squarespace commerce

Apart from that, you can only sell products in Business or Commerce plans.

Let’s say you want to sell only one product, you will still have to pay for the Business plan, and the yearly costs of hosting a site with just one product to sell will be way higher than a shared hosting plan or VPS for WordPress.

As for third-party services, there are very few external services that you can integrate with your Squarespace website. This affects how you promote your website and the things you can do to make more sales and grow your business.

Conclusion

WordPress is way ahead of Squarespace when it comes to running an eCommerce website. The limitations of Squarespace are not so good for the growth of an online business.

The neat part about WordPress is that you can also use it alongside with Shopify. See our comparison of Shopify vs WooCommerce.

Data Portability

When signing a business agreement, you always have safety clauses. Such as if you’re not happy, then you can leave without any hassle.

This concept extends to online businesses as well, and it is called data portability. If you’re not happy with the platform, then you should be able to take all your work and move it somewhere else.

Let’s look at how WordPress and Squarespace compare in data portability and the freedom to switch.

WordPress

WordPress comes with built-in tools to easily export all your data. Not just your content and images, but you can also backup your themes, plugins, and the entire database. See our list of the best WordPress backup solutions.

Exporting content in WordPress

You can then easily move this content to any other Content Management System you want. You can store your content anywhere else and change web hosts at any time you want.

Squarespace

Just like everything else, the export feature on Squarespace is also very limited. You can only export certain parts of your content in a XML file. This includes your pages, galleries, and one blog page with all its posts.

Your product pages, album pages, text, audio, and video blocks will not be exported.

Conclusion

The content you create on your site is yours, and you should have the freedom and tools so that you can move it elsewhere. WordPress again beats Squarespace with easy to manage tools to export your entire site.

Languages and Internationalization

We live in a global world and many businesses cater to a multilingual audience in different geographical locations. Let’s see how Squarespace and WordPress handle languages, multi-lingual content, and geographical locations.

Languages and localization

WordPress

WordPress is fully translated into dozens of languages. Users on a WordPress site can choose their own language from their profile settings.

Most WordPress themes are translation ready and all popular WordPress plugins are also translated into many languages.

Basically, you can build a WordPress website in any language you want. You can even translate WordPress yourself if your language is not yet available.

WordPress does not come with multi-lingual functionality out of the box. However, there are excellent plugins to create multilingual websites that are SEO friendly and incredibly feature rich.

Squarespace

Squarespace platform is fully translated into six languages (English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese). You can change your site language and choose different timezone / country.

You can only use currencies supported by Stripe or PayPal for your store products.

You can create multilingual pages by basically duplicating your pages. You will have to manually create a site structure or create different sites for each language (You will be billed for each site separately).

Conclusion

WordPress is way ahead in terms of languages and localization options. Squarespace again comes out as very limited and totally inadequate to create multilingual websites.

Summarizing Squarespace vs WordPress Comparison

WordPress is a far superior platform than Squarespace when it comes to building a website. Here is a quick breakdown of pros and cons of both platforms.

Pros of using Squarespace

  • Easier to use for small websites
  • Polished user experience
  • Hassle free website setup

Cons of using Squarespace

  • Costs higher than shared hosting website
  • Limited design choices
  • Limited set of features
  • Limitations put you at disadvantage in growing your business

Pros of using WordPress

  • Easy to use with a slight learning curve
  • Incredibly flexible to create anykind of website
  • Massive collection of themes and plugins
  • Truly powerful eCommerce platform
  • Can be started at a very low cost

Cons of using WordPress

Weighing in the pros and cons, we can confidently say that WordPress is a better platform to start a website.

The freedom to grow your website as you see fit, is important for all businesses. You should not trade that for any cost. WordPress provides you with this freedom at an much lower cost than all other platforms.

We hope this article offered you a side by side comparison of WordPress vs Squarespace. You may also want to see our complete WordPress review for a detailed overview of the platform.

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 Update Your Old WordPress Posts with Gutenberg Block Editor


Wondering how to update your old blog posts with Gutenberg, the new WordPress block editor? If you haven’t upgraded to WordPress 5.0, then you’re not alone.

A lot of readers are concerned because Gutenberg is a completely new experience. The good news is that your old articles are safe even after upgrading to Gutenberg. In this article, we’ll show you how to update your old articles with Gutenberg, the new WordPress Block editor.

You may also want to know what will happen to your existing content after upgrading your blog to Gutenberg.

update-your-old-articles-with-gutenberg

What’s The Difference Between Classic Editor and Gutenberg Editor?

Before we get started, let’s first discuss the major differences between the old Classic Editor and the new Gutenberg Editor.

The Classic Editor was a text editor that looked very similar to Microsoft Word. It had a single editing field with formatting options at the top. Here’s what the Classic Editor looks like:

Old WordPress editor

On the other hand, the new Gutenberg editor is a fully block-based editor. You’ll add all the content in the form of blocks. Here’s how the Gutenberg Block Editor looks like:

New WordPress Block Editor also known as Gutenberg

Blocks are content elements which are separate from each other with their own set of formatting options. There’re individual blocks for every piece of content including:

  • Regular text or paragraph
  • Image
  • Button
  • Gallery
  • List
  • Table
  • Embeds, etc.

Plus, you can find more blocks and widgets provided by your plugins and theme.

gutenberg-blocks

In order to create or edit a post in the new Gutenberg editor, you’ll need to use blocks. Here’s how to update your old blog posts and pages with Gutenberg block editor.

Editing Your Older WordPress Articles with Gutenberg

If you’ve updated your WordPress blog to 5.0 or the later version, then you’ll have the new Gutenberg block editor as your default editor.

The good part about Gutenberg is that it doesn’t affect any of your old content, and you can easily edit them.

To edit an older article, simply edit it as you would normally do in WordPress.

On the post edit screen, you’ll see the entire content wrapped inside a single Classic block.

classic-block-guteberg-edit

The same post would look like the screenshot below in the old classic editor.

classic-wp-editor

As you can notice, the content is same however the way it’s organized looks slightly different.

Yes, that’s the only change you’ll see.

The new WordPress block editor will not make any changes to the content, and it would still look the same on your website.

Now, you have two options to edit your old blog posts and pages:

  1. Continue editing inside the Classic block
  2. Convert your old content to new Gutenberg blocks
  3. The first option is to continue editing your old article inside the Classic block.

    The Classic block offers you the same Classic editor interface with formatting options at the top. This should be fairly straight forward.

    The second option is converting your old content into new Gutenberg blocks.

    You can do this by clicking on the three-dot menu option on the top right corner of Classic block.

    From the menu dropdown, you need to select Convert to Blocks option.

    convert-to-blocks-wp-block-editor

    That’s it!

    Your old content will be automatically converted into appropriate blocks. The content inside the Classic block will be split into several different blocks.

    wp-block-editor-classic-block-converted

    Now, you can edit your old article using the new Gutenberg editor blocks. Each block is a separate entity with its own formatting options, styles, and design options.

    For example, in our screenshot above, there’s an image block and a paragraph block.

    If you want to make changes to how the image appears, then you can simply click the image to select the block, and the editing options will appear at the top.

    You will also see more options under the Block tab in the right column of the screen.

    image-block-edit-options

    You can realign the image, make it full width, add Alt text, change image dimensions, add a link, and more.

    Following the same process, you can edit all of the blocks and make your article look visually impressive.

    Once you’re done making all the necessary edits, you can simply click the Update button at the top right of the screen to save your changes.

    Note: Although Gutenberg works fine with most themes and plugins, some may still not have Gutenberg support. It’s better to test your theme and plugins for Gutenberg compatibility before switching to it.

    The new WordPress Gutenberg editor offers an easy and flexible way of creating content in WordPress. However if you are not ready to use it yet, then you can disable Gutenberg and keep using the classic editor.

    You can keep using the Classic editor until 2022 which should be enough time for getting familiar with the new WordPress block editor. We have a complete Gutenberg Block Editor tutorial for beginners that you should check out.

    We hope this article helped you learn how to update your old articles with Gutenberg Block Editor. You may also want to see our list of the must have WordPress plugins for professional 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 Update Your Old WordPress Posts with Gutenberg Block Editor appeared first on WPBeginner.





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24 Must Have WordPress Plugins for Business Websites in 2019


Looking for the best WordPress plugins to take your business to the next level in 2019?

There are over 54,226 WordPress plugins that you can choose from. This makes it extremely overwhelming for new users to find the right plugin for their website.

We are often asked by readers for the best WordPress plugin suggestions for SEO, social media, backups, speed, etc.

Being the largest WordPress resource site, our experts test over thousand free and premium WordPress plugins every year, so we can make it easy for our users (you) to find the best solutions.

Having the right set of WordPress plugins and tools can help you grow your online business. In this article, we have shared our expert pick of the must-have WordPress plugins for business websites in 2019.

Must have WordPress plugin for business websites

Note: these are the plugins that our team installs when we start a new blog or make a new website for our own businesses.

1. WPForms

WPForms

Every website needs a contact form because it makes it easy for your visitors to get in touch with you. WPForms is the most user-friendly contact form plugin for WordPress.

This drag & drop online form builder allows you to easily create contact forms, email subscription forms, online order forms, payment forms, user registration forms, surveys, polls, and basically all other types of online forms with just a few clicks.

WPForms integrates with all popular marketing and payment platforms, so you can build powerful forms in less than 5 minutes.

We use it on WPBeginner and all of our other websites, but we’re not alone. Over 1 million websites use WPForms, and they have consistently maintained a 4.9 out of 5 star rating average for over 2 years now.

There’s a free WPForms Lite version available for those who are looking for a simple solution.

If you are a seriously looking to grow your business, then we recommend getting the Pro version because it comes with all the powerful features you need to boost your lead generation efforts. Use this WPForms coupon to get 50% off your purchase.

2. MonsterInsights

MonsterInsights

MonsterInsights is the best Google Analytics plugin for WordPress. It allows you to “properly” connect your website with Google Analytics, so you can see exactly how people find and use your website.

The best part is that it shows you all the important stats that matter right inside your WordPress dashboard.

You can then optimize your website accordingly to increase your traffic, subscribers, and revenue. We have detailed guides on how to install Google Analytics in WordPress, how to use Google Analytics to enable eCommerce tracking, and how to track user engagement.

MonsterInsights has a free version, but the true power of it only unlocks when you upgrade to the Pro version.

You can use our MonsterInsights coupon to get 50% off your purchase.

MonsterInsights is used by over 2 million websites.

3. Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO

SEO helps you get more visitors from search engines to your website. While WordPress is SEO friendly out of the box, there is so much more you can do to increase your website traffic using SEO best practices.

Yoast SEO is the most popular WordPress plugin of all time. It is a comprehensive WordPress SEO solution with all the features and tools that you need to improve your on-page SEO.

It helps you add meta tags, generate sitemaps, connect your site to Google Search Console, optimize it for social media, and more.

For complete SEO setup on your website, follow our ultimate WordPress SEO tutorial for beginners with step by step instructions.

4. Constant Contact

Constant Contact

Email is the most effective and most reliable marketing tool at your disposal as a business owner. It allows you to stay in touch with your users even after they leave your website. This is why we recommend every business owner to start building an email list right away.

Constant Contact is one of the most popular email marketing service providers in the world.

Their platform allows you to build an email lists and send beautiful email newsletters to your subscribers.

It is quick and easy setup for non techy users. It also works well with popular lead generation plugins for WordPress like OptinMonster and WPForms.

Alternatives: Drip and ConvertKit are good alternatives if you want something more advanced, but they are more pricey.

5. OptinMonster

OptinMonster

OptinMonster is the most popular conversion rate optimization software in the market. It allows you to convert abandoning website visitors into email subscribers and customers.

This WordPress plugin and application helps you get more email subscribers, fast.

OptinMonster comes with pre-made high-converting opt-in forms that you can easily customize with their drag & drop builder. Their powerful display targeting features allow you to personalize the campaigns for each user, so you can show the right message at the right time.

It’s a great solution for bloggers, business websites, and eCommerce websites. Basically if you want to make more money from your website traffic, then you need OptinMonster.

It helps you recover abandoned cart sales, convert website visitors, and grow your email list. Read these case studies to see how much success other businesses are having by using OptinMonster.

We use OptinMonster on WPBeginner and our other websites.

6. Sucuri

Sucuri

Security should be a top priority for all online business owners. Sucuri offers a WordPress security plugin and web application firewall that is probably one of the best protection you can get for your site.

They monitor and protect your site from DDoS, malware threats, XSS attacks, brute force attacks, and basically every other type of attack. If you don’t have a firewall on your website, then you need to add one today.

To learn more on how to strengthen the security of your website and protect your business, see our ultimate WordPress security guide with step by step instructions for beginners.

Sucuri help us block hundreds of thousands of attacks every month on WPBeginner.

7. UpdraftPlus

UpdraftPlus

UpdraftPlus is the most popular WordPress backup plugin on the market. It allows you to set up automatic backups and safely store them on a remote location like Google Drive, Dropbox, S3, Rackspace, FTP, email, and more.

It also makes it super easy to restore your website from a backup. Their base plugin is free, but they also have a paid plan with extra features and priority support.

Alternative: BackupBuddy and VaultPress (Jetpack Backups) are also excellent solutions, but they are paid only.

8. WP Rocket

WP Rocket

WP Rocket is the best WordPress caching plugin on the market. It allows you to instantly improve your WordPress website speed and performance with no technical skills required.

It automatically turns on recommended WordPress caching settings like gzip compression, page cache, and cache pre-loading. You can also turn on optional features like lazy loading images, CDN support, DNS pre-fetching, minification, and more to further improve page load times.

This is by far the easiest and most beginner friendly caching plugin. The only downside is that it’s paid only.

Alternative: WP Super Cache is free, but it’s not as powerful or easy.

9. Beaver Builder

Beaver Builder

Beaver Builder is the best drag and drop page builder for WordPress. It allows you to easily customize your website design and create custom page layouts without writing any code.

Business owners love it because it lets them create completely custom landing pages within minutes without having to hire a developer.

Alternative: Divi plugin is a great alternative.

10. MemberPress

MemberPress

MemberPress allows you to build online communities and membership sites using WordPress. It is the best WordPress membership plugin in the market.

You can create subscriptions and restrict content to users based on their subscription plans. It works with all popular payment solutions and plays nicely with online stores using WooCommerce. For detailed instructions, see our guide on how to make a membership website in WordPress.

11. CSS Hero

CSS Hero

WordPress themes rely on CSS for the visual appearance of your website. If you want to make customization to your theme, then you will have to learn CSS. This can be time-consuming for a business owner.

CSS Hero is a WordPress plugin that allows you to customize any WordPress theme without writing a single line of code. Check out our review of how CSS Hero makes WordPress customization easy for more information.

It’s not a drag & drop page builder like BeaverBuilder that helps you build custom layouts. Rather it helps you customize any WordPress theme available in the market within minutes to match your needs.

12. SeedProd

SeedProd

SeedProd is the best WordPress maintenance mode and coming soon page plugin that helps you collect leads and grow your followers even when your website is not available.

If your site is under construction, then you can use it to create beautiful coming soon landing pages. It includes features like integration with your email marketing services, countdown timer, social media integration, and dozens of templates to choose from.

13. LearnDash

LearnDash

LearnDash is the best WordPress LMS plugin to create and sell online courses from your WordPress website. It has a drag and drop course builder that allows you to quickly add lessons, quizzes, and assignments to build your course.

For detailed step by step instructions, see our guide on how to create online courses in WordPress using LearnDash.

14. G Suite

G Suite

G Suite is a suite of web applications like email, docs, spreadsheets, etc. Created by Google, this powerful set of office applications is cheaper, easy to deploy, and hassle free.

It allows you to save costs on software licenses, hardware, hiring IT staff, managing backups, and more. Most importantly it allows you to use professional email addresses with your own business domain name right inside Gmail.

15. SEMRush

SEMRush

SEMRush is an all-in-one marketing toolkit for digital marketing professionals and business owners. It comes with powerful tools to help you improve your SEO, paid traffic strategy, social media, and content & PR strategy.

It also helps you gather competitive intelligence on your competitors, so you can outrank them and dominate your industry.

It helps you do keyword research, backlink audit, track brand mentions, spy on competitors, discover best-performing posts on social media, ad strategy analysis, and more.

These short paragraphs are not enough to describe the true power of SEMRush. It’s a must have tool in our list for serious business owners.

Alternative: Ahrefs is an excellent alternative.

16. LiveChat

LiveChat

LiveChat Inc is the best live chat support software for businesses and e-commerce websites. It is super easy to use and allows you to quickly add live chat on your WordPress website.

It has tons of customization options, and it comes with a mobile app, so you can stay connected while on the go.

It integrates with your existing support software, CRM, email marketing, and other tools. Most importantly, it loads fast and offers a great user experience.

17. Pretty Links Pro

Pretty Links Pro

Pretty Links Pro is one of the best link management plugins for WordPress. It allows you to easily manage affiliate links while making it easy make your affiliate links short and memorable for sharing.

It is the perfect tool for affiliate marketers, podcasters, business owners, and others who want to easily create short URLs in WordPress.

18. Shared Counts

Shared Counts

Shared Counts is the best WordPress social media plugin that allows you to easily add beautiful social sharing buttons on your website.

It also shows share counts, which helps you add social proof to your website.

While there are many paid solutions available, this free plugin beats them all in code quality and performance.

We use SharedCount on a lot of our website because it offers an easy out of the box solution for both beginners and developers.

19. WP Mail SMTP

WP Mail SMTP

By default, WordPress uses the PHP mail function to send emails. The problem is that either WordPress hosting companies don’t have this feature setup properly, or they block it to prevent abuse.

This basically means that you and your users may not receive important email notifications from your WordPress site.

WP Mail SMTP solves this problem by sending WordPress emails using a proper SMTP mail server. To learn more, see our article on how to fix WordPress not sending email issue.

20. Insert Headers and Footers

Insert Headers and Footers

While managing your WordPress site, you may sometimes need to add code snippets to your WordPress header or footer for verification, inserting ad retargeting scripts, etc.

Insert Headers and Footer allows you to easily add code snippets to your WordPress site without editing your theme files. Take a look at our tutorial on how to add header and footer code in WordPress.

This free plugin is extremely handy for business owners.

21. TablePress

TablePress

For a long time WordPress editor didn’t have an option to create tables in your posts or pages. The new WordPress block editor comes with a table block, but it lacks many features.

TablePress solves this problem by allowing you to add beautiful tables to your website. It keeps your table data separate from your posts and pages which means you can embed the table anywhere and update it from one single location.

Most importantly, you don’t have to write any HTML or CSS. See our guide on how to easily create tables in WordPress.

22. WPML

WPML

By default, WordPress does not allow you to easily create a multilingual website. This is a challenge for businesses who cater to a multi-lingual customer base in different geographic locations.

This is where you’ll need WPML. It is a WordPress multi-lingual plugin that allows you to easily create multi-lingual websites with WordPress.

It is very easy to use, SEO friendly, and helps you easily create content in different languages.

23. WooCommerce

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is the most popular eCommerce plugin for WordPress used by over 4 million websites.

It comes with all the powerful features that you need to create an online store.

Over the last few years, WooCommerce has established itself as the most dominant eCommerce plugin for WordPress. There’s even a WooCommerce ecosystem now with dedicated WooCommerce hosting, WooCommerce themes, and WooCommerce plugins available.

24. Grammarly

Grammarly

Grammarly is a popular online grammar checker tool available as a browser addon for Google Chrome, Firefox, and even Microsoft Edge. It checks for spelling, grammar, and contextual errors as you write your posts.

The free version is sufficient for most people. However you can always update to the premium version to unlock plagiarism detector, vocabulary enhancement suggestions, and more advanced features.

This concludes our list of the best WordPress plugins for business websites.

Depending on your business, you may not need to use all plugins mentioned in our list, but it’s pretty common for our readers to end up using at least 18 out of 24 solutions that we have mentioned.

Now that you have the best WordPress plugins, you may also want to see our article on how to increase your website traffic (27 proven tips).

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 24 Must Have WordPress Plugins for Business Websites in 2019 appeared first on WPBeginner.





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How to Add Web Push Notification to Your WordPress Site


Do you want to add push notifications to your WordPress site? Push notifications allow you to send notifications to users even when they are not visiting your website.

In this article, we will show you how to easily add web push notifications to your WordPress site. We will also talk about the best WordPress push notification plugins and how to send desktop & mobile push notifications from your WordPress site.

Adding web push notifications to a WordPress site

What is Push Notification?

Push notifications are clickable messages displayed on top of user’s desktop or notification area on their mobile device. They can be shown even when the user’s browser is not open.

web push notifications shown on a desktop

Aside from desktop, web push notifications also work on mobile devices. This allows you to reach your users across devices with latest updates and offers. Web push notifications have proven to be a very effective way to convert website visitors into customers and loyal followers.

Why Add Web Push Notifications to Your WordPress Site?

We have already discussed that 70% of people who leave your website will never come back. This is why you need to convert those website users into subscribers or customers.

You can do this by utilizing multiple channels at once. This includes email marketing, social media, mobile or SMS marketing, and web push notifications.

While email lists are still the most dominant and effective marketing tool at your disposal, push notifications for us are proving to be quite effective.

Here is why:

  • Users need to give their explicit permission to receive push notifications. This means they are already interested in what you have to offer and are more likely to engage with notifications.
  • Push notifications are shorter and demand less attention than email or social media updates.
  • There is no algorithm, so nearly 100% of messages are delivered.
  • Users can control how their devices display notifications, they can snooze them, or turn them off entirely.
  • Not as many companies are using it.

Popular sites including Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and many others understand the importance and are already using web push notifications.

These notifications are more engaging than SMS, email marketing, and social media platforms. According to a survey, push notifications have a 50% higher open rate than email and twice as much click-rate.

Having said that, let’s take a look at how to add web push notifications to a WordPress site.

Setting up Web Push Notifications in WordPress with OneSignal

OneSignal is a free push notification service for WordPress websites. It allows you to easily add push notifications to any website.

First thing you need to do is install and activate the OneSignal plugin. Need help installing the plugin? See our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, the plugin will add a new menu item labeled OneSignal to your WordPress admin bar. Clicking on it will take you to the plugin’s settings page.

OneSignal settings page

The settings page is divided into Setup and Configuration tabs. The setup tab is actually detailed documentation on how to setup OneSignal push notifications in WordPress. It has the same steps that we will show you in this tutorial.

To setup OneSignal, you will need to add API Key and APP ID into the plugin settings.

Let’s get started.

Step 1: Setting up OneSignal Push Notifcations

First, you need to visit the OneSignal website and click on the get started button next to the Web Push option.

OneSignal get started

You’ll be asked to provide your email and password to create a free account. After your account is created, you’ll reach the OneSignal dashboard.

Add OneSignal app

On the dashboard, click on the ‘Add App’ button to create your first app.

You’ll be asked to provide a name for your app. You can use anything here that helps you identify it.

Enter a name for your app

Next, you’ll need to select a platform. You can select multiple platforms for an app. For now, we recommend selecting ‘Web Push’ and click on the next button to continue.

Choose app platform

In the next step, you’ll be asked to select an integration method. Go ahead and click on ‘WordPress Plugin or Website Builder’ box and then select WordPress.

Select integration method

When you scroll down a bit, you will see a ‘WordPress Site Setup’ section.

You need to enter your website name, URL, and upload a logo. This logo would appear in your notifications, so we recommend using your site icon (favicon) or website logo.

WordPress site setup

Below that, you will see a toggle that you can turn on if your WordPress site is not using SSL/HTTPS. You can only send web push notifications from a secure HTTPS URL. If your WordPress site is not using HTTPS, then you need to turn this setting on and enter a label.

A label is basically a subdomain hosted on OneSignal servers using a secure HTTPS URL. This subdomain will be used to send your push notifications.

If you want to setup HTTPS on your own WordPress site, then see our step by step tutorial on how to move WordPress from HTTP to HTTPS. We highly recommend using your own domain with SSL than a subdomain on OneSignal, so you’re not forever locked in to their platform.

Once you are done, click on the save button to store your OneSignal settings. You’ll now see the API keys that you need to copy.

Copy the API keys

Now, you can switch back to OneSignal plugin settings on your WordPress site and switch to the ‘Configuration’ tab. You need to paste the APP and API keys you copied earlier.

Paste API Keys

These API keys will only allow you to send push notifications via Chrome and Firefox web browsers.

You will also need Safari Web ID in order to send Push notifications via Safari web browser.

To get the Safari API key, you need to switch back to OneSignal website and go to the settings page for your app. Once there, you need to click on the edit icon next to Apple Safari.

Push notification setup for Safari

Next, you’ll be asked to enter your website title, URL, and optionally upload a site icon.

Safari settings for push notification

Click on the Save button to store your settings. After that, you’ll see your Safari Web ID on the screen which you need to copy.

Safari Web ID

Once again, switch back to the plugin’s settings page on your WordPress site and paste the Safari Web ID under the configuration tab.

Save OneSignal plugin settings

Don’t forget to click on the save button to store your plugin settings.

You can now visit your website in a new incognito browser tab. You will see a push notification popup on the top and a bell notification icon at the bottom right corner of the screen.

Push notification optin

The push notification popup will also appear on mobile browsers.

Push notification optin on mobile browser

Note: The appearance of push notification popup prompt may differ based on http/https settings of your site.

Now, you may be wondering why this push notification prompt looks different than what you see on some other websites?

Normally users see the browser default notification prompt, which looks something like this:

Default browser prompt for push notification

Now the problem is that, if a user clicked on ‘Block’ button, then they will never see a prompt for subscribing to notifications. To fix this, OneSignal comes with two different prompt types.

The first one is the push notification popup and the other one is the subscription bell icon. Both of them are fully customizable, and you can change them to meet your needs.

Step 2. Customizing The Push Notification Popup Prompt

The basic push notification popup is quite simple. It uses generic language and displays your site’s logo. You may want to customize that to make it more personal.

Simply switch to the configuration tab under OneSignal plugin’s settings page on your WordPress site and scroll down to the ‘HTTP Pop-Up Settings’ section.

Customize push notification popup

You need to click on the toggle next to ‘Customize the HTTP Pop-Up Prompt text’, and then start adding your own text.

Don’t forget to click on the Save button to store your settings before testing the prompt.

Step 3. Customize the Bell Notification Icon

Normally, the browser prompt for notification and the popup disappear when a user dismisses them.

What if users later change their mind and want to receive push notifications?

The subscription bell in OneSignal allows you to keep showing users a prompt to subscribe push notifications on your site.

The bell icon is also fully customizable from the plugin’s settings page. Simply scroll down to ‘Prompt Settings & Subscription Bell’ section and turn on the customization options that you want to change.

Subscription bell settings

You can then scroll down and change settings for each option you want to customize. Ideally, you would want to change bell icon colors to match your own theme colors.

Bell icon customization

Note: We don’t use the bell icon because we feel it’s a bit too intrusive.

Step 4. Sending Push Notifications from Your WordPress Site

By default, the OneSignal plugin automatically sends push notifications for all new posts published on your website. If you want, then you can turn this feature off from plugin’s settings page under ‘Automatic Notification Settings’ section.

Automatic notification settings

You can also manually send a notification when you publish or update a post. Simply edit a WordPress post or page, and you will see the OneSignal meta box under document settings column on the right.

OneSignal notification box in Gutenberg

If you are using the old classic editor, then you will see the meta box like this:

Send push notification box in classic editor

Check the box next to ‘Send notification on post update / publish’ and then click on update or publish button.

OneSignal will now send your article as a push notification to all your subscribers.

Send a welcome push notification to new subscribers

You can also send a welcome push notification to your new subscribers. Visit OneSignal’s settings page in your WordPress admin area and scroll down to the ‘Welcome Notification Settings’ section.

Welcome notification

Now when a new subscribes for push notifications, they will receive a welcome notification on their device. Depending on their browser and device the notification may look different.

Welcome notification displayed on Mac via Firefox

That’s all, you have successfully added web push notifications to your WordPress site.

You can also send custom notifications from the OneSignal app dashboard. The process is quite intuitive and you can follow onscreen instructions once you login to OneSignal.

Other Good WordPress Push Notification Plugins

It is important to choose the right web push notification service from the start. Since most providers try to lock you in their platform, changing your push notification service can result in losing your old subscribers. Meaning if you switch, then you will be starting from scratch.

This is why we recommend asking the provider you choose for all settings you need to configure to make your subscriber list portable.

At WPBeginner, we use OneSignal because it has the features that we need at a reasonable price.

  • OneSignal offers a free WordPress push notification plugin with unlimited mobile push and web push notifications for upto 30K subscribers.
  • Even their free plan includes features like segmentation, localization, tracking with Google analytics, and a robust API.
  • You can use it with all top email marketing services to send your newsletter emails via web push notifications

WordPress is all about choices. Here are some other WordPress push notification plugins that you can also try.

  • PushEngage Web Push Notifications – This is the connector plugin for PushEngage, a push notifications service provider. They have a free plan limited to 2500 subscribers, 120 notifications, and 5000 clicks.
  • PushAlert – Web Push Notifications – Helps you connect to PushAlert web push notification service. They also offer a free plan limited to 3000 subscribers.
  • PushCrew – Connects your website to PushCrew’s push notification service. They offer a free plan limited to 2000 subscribers.
  • PushAssist – Connector plugin for PushAssist web push notification service. Their free plan is limited to 2000 subscribers.

We hope this article helped you learn how to add web push notifications to your WordPress site. You may also want to see our guide on how to get a free business email address for your website.

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The post How to Add Web Push Notification to Your WordPress Site appeared first on WPBeginner.





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