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Make Your WordPress Site More User-Friendly by Monday


For some, weekends are meant for partying. For entrepreneurs, the weekends are when they standout from the competition.

Weekend projects make complete sense for a small business owner, since there’s far less pressure to hit a deadline. In short, weekends feel more like fun work.

Weekends are great for focusing on the user-friendliness of your website. Whether you have an authority blog or a thousand-product eCommerce site, user-friendliness is often an afterthought once you get your business rolling.

That’s why the weekend is so great, because you can take a little time to squeeze in a weekend project to make your site more user-friendly by Monday. Let’s take a look at some of those potential projects.

1. Get User Feedback on Your Website

The first step to changing around your user-experience is to understand what you could improve. After all, you don’t want to change around something that’s not broken.

Therefore, I recommend taking a look at some of the following sites:

Some of these require payments, while others are free. You can also search for more user-experience testing tools through Google. The whole point is to see what people say about your website, allowing you to make educated decisions when it comes to modifying the UX. It’s also not a bad idea to send out a survey to your current users, since they’re the ones using your site.

2. Make Every Page and Post “Readable”

In the digital world people aren’t as interested in reading anymore. It’s a shame, but that means website managers need to construct content that’s readable. Therefore, we need to construct a full weekend plan for scouring your website and adjusting anything that might not pass the “readability” test.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Find broken links and either redirect them to other pages or place content on those pages. For external links you can simply remove them. You should also consider setting up nice 404 pages for people who end up on the wrong pages on your website.
  • Make your fonts beautiful by converting most of your online text to San Serif fonts. Readability declines when you jump from one font to another, so stick with uniform fonts throughout. Not only that, but start using short headers to grab attention and guide user activity.
  • Evaluate all pages to see if enough white space is being used. Sometimes you need more spaces, while other times you need to get rid of the sidebar.
  • Ensure you have some contrasting color schemes when placing text over imagery or colors. Otherwise people won’t be able to read the text.
  • Use scannable techniques such as headers, short paragraphs, bullet points media to break up text and more.

3. Test and Adjust the Navigation and Search Bar

If you’re missing a navigational menu or search bar, now’s the time to include both. More often than not you’ll already have these. But menus and search bars rarely have the optimization they need.

Over the weekend you can implement an A/B test program or a heatmapping system. This way you can run some tests to evaluate where your customers are clicking when it comes to your navigational menu and the search bar.

Maybe you’ll notice that not a single person touched your search bar. Does that mean it’s too far down on your homepage? Would it help if you put it in the header instead of the sidebar? After raising questions like these, run more tests next weekend to see if anything changes.

4. If Not Selling Online, Start Accepting Online Orders

This applies to physical products, digital products and services. One of the major points of having a website is to cut out unnecessary processes.

For example, a massage therapist used to pick up the phone over and over to book clients in his schedule. But a simple booking plugin would cut out all of those phone calls.

The same goes for physical products. Although it might be intimidating to sell online with your small brick and mortar store, start with just five of your best selling products, then see how it works.

5. If Selling Online, Offer Additional Payment Methods

An online store should absolutely accept every major credit card. That’s a given. However, several other payment methods may boost your sales by gaining access to smaller communities of people with more obscure payment methods.

PayPal is one of the best examples, since many users feel more secure paying online with their PayPal accounts. Another example is Bitcoin, the decentralized, anonymous digital currency. Not only can you convert Bitcoin to regular currencies, but it decreases fraud since the customers can’t request refunds.

But for whichever gateway(s) you want to add, it’s as easy as installing a plugin. WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads both offer a huge variety of premium add-on for popular gateways, an there are even more options available from 3rd parties.

6. Construct an Easily Accessible, Comprehensive Support Area

Not all websites require knowledge bases, but every single site on the internet should have some sort of support area, or a compelling contact page.

FAQ pages are nice for small blogs, and all support pages should have direct links in the navigational area. As a weekend project, I encourage you to make a list of your ten biggest competitors (or similar websites). Take a look at how they provide support and which pages are used for sharing contact information, social media pages, important information to questions and more. Then, use that as a guide to create pages for your own site.

7. Make and Fill Social Accounts (Then Link to Them on Your Homepage)

This one’s simple, but it’s more about spending the time to develop a content plan.

The first weekend can be about filling the Facebook and Twitter pages. After that you can ask how often you’re going to post. Which type of content is going to get the most shares? Stuff like that.

Once that’s setup you can move on to adding your social stream to WordPress, getting more social followers and even automating your social sharing.

8. Walk Through the Steps Needed to Speed Up Your Site

Learning how to speed up your site not only impresses Google but it keeps your users around for a longer period of time. I suggest you go through the many different guides we have about speeding up WordPress sites:

9. Use Relevant Icons to Break Up Chunks of Text

This ties into readability, but it’s more about presenting your products and services on the homepage. Far too often we see well-written copy that explains your services in a creative way. However, the paragraphs blend together and you’re missing one thing: Industry relevant icons.

These are the most basic of visuals, but they make such a big difference when it comes to UX. The WP SVG Icons plugin is a wonderful place to start, but you can generally look around on Google to find all sorts of free and premium icon packages.

10: Make Your Site Responsive

If you haven’t already heard, mobile users love mobile-friendly websites. In addition, Google will reward you for one.

I suggest you find a WordPress theme that’s completely responsive. Most developers who are creating well coded themes make them responsive from the get go (like our Total theme for example). But if you’re happy with your current theme that it isn’t mobile ready, consider making your current site responsive with the help of Jetpack.

Have Fun This Weekend!

There you have it! You now have several weekend projects to make your site more user-friendly by Monday. If you have any questions regarding these projects, let us know in the comments section below.



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How to Add Social Feeds to WordPress with Flow Flow


Social media consumes our lives. Not in a bad way though. I personally love being able to stay up to date on what friends, family and especially brands are up to on a minute to minute basis. Which is maybe not so great for my own productivity, but it’s awesome news for your online brand or business.

Your followers want to know what you’re tweeting, pinning, liking, sharing, posting etc. So why not make it easy for them by adding your social stream to WordPress?

Flow Flow, WordPress Social Streaming Made Easy

The absolute best way to add social feeds to your WordPress blog or website is with Flow Flow. As with any feature you might want to add to WordPress there are tons of plugin options, but let us explain to you why we think Flow Flow is the absolute best.

Quick Feeds

Adding feeds is even easier with Flow Flow. It can get complicated when you have to create, locate and decipher what’s needed to authorize each social network feed. And this process can be even more complex if you’re forced to use a different plugin for each network. Lucky for your Flow Flow includes support the most popular networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) AND it makes it easy to authorize your feeds with built-in fields for required information (as well as detailed documentation if you ever need help).

Easy Customizations

Technical features are of course important, but so is the look and feel of the plugin. You don’t want an ugly or mismatched feed displayed on your website. Flow Flow includes options for grid style, columns, custom column spacing, stream background (make it match or stand out on your main site or page row background), animation, font colors, social icon styles and more. And if you want to tweak an element that doesn’t have a built-in option you can always adda bit of custom CSS.

Visual Composer Integration

Add your streams to pages as you’re building them with Flow Flow’s full Visual Composer integration. The plugin is completely compatible with Visual Composer’s front-end editor so you can easily insert your streams as you use other page builder options for rows and layouts.

Total Theme Compatible

And of course Flow Flow is compatible with the Total WordPress theme. In fact, we’re honored to say that Flow Flow is currently using the Total theme on their live preview. When you pair Total’s rock solid code, quick demo imports, nearly unlimited styling options and of course included visual page builder with the social stream power of Flow Flow there’s nothing you can’t build.

But now that you know why we love Flow Flow, let’s get into how you can implement this awesome plugin on your WordPress website.

Flow Flow Quick Start Guide

Looks Awesome (the team behind Flow Flow) has done an excellent job documenting their plugin. To get started in a jiffy you can simply watch their video guide:

But for those of you who want to follow along with an old-school walk through keep reading to see how we setup Flow Flow.

Step 1: Purchase, Download and Install the Plugin

First you need your own copy of the plugin, so head over to CodeCanyon and purchase a personal use license.

Get Flow Flow Social Streams

If you’re a developer you might want to also consider the extended license – it’s a great way to add value to your client work by offering social streams as a feature on all your client sites. Just an idea.

Download the Flow Flow Plugin

Once you have a license, go to your downloads page to download the plugin file. If you choose the “All files & documentation” option remember that this will download a zip file that includes more than just the plugin so you will need to unzip it before attempting to install the plugin (usually just double clicking on the file will do the trick).

Upload Flow Flow Plugin

Next log into your WordPress installation and go to your Plugins section. Click on the button at the top of the screen to “Add New” then again to “Upload Plugin.”

Click on the option in the middle of your screen to “Choose File.” Browse for the folder you just downloaded and unzipped from CodeCanyon, it should be named similar to Flow-Flow 3.0.9 (with that last bit changing based on your version number). Select the zipped file (flow-flow.zip) within that folder and follow the onscreen prompts from WordPress to finish the plugin installation. Then click the option to activate.

Step 2: Edit Flow-Flow Settings

Before your begin building we recommend taking a quick look at the plugin settings. If you go to Flow Flow > Settings you can view the built-in options for the plugin.

Flow Flow Plugin Settings

In our opinion you won’t want to miss the moderator user-role options, date format and the amount of stored posts for your feeds. But do take a glance at the other options before you save.

Step 3: Add Your Social Feeds

With your plugin installed, active and setup you can start by adding your social feeds. Every social network is different and some will require access tokens or apps before you can add a feed. But don’t worry – Flow Flow makes this all super easy.

Flow Flow Create New Feeds

Simply go to Flow Flow > Feeds and click on the green button to “Create Feed +” to get started. This will open a popup.

Flow Flow Select Feed

From here select the social feed you want to add. We chose to start with Pinterest since it’s super easy to add.

Flow Flow Feed Settings

Once you select a feed you’ll be prompted to enter the feed settings. These options will vary based on the feed you selected. Pinterest only requires the username or username/board, your preferred frequency to update (ranging from 5 minutes to once per week), number of posts to load (1, 5, 10 or 20) as well as the option for you to moderate what is shown. Once you’re done click to “Add Feed.”

Now repeat the process for each social network you want to add! Just remember that you may need to add authorization information before you can add a feed, but Flow Flow makes this easy by offering an “Auth” section.

Flow Flow Feed Authorizations

From here you can add the authorization info required for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, Foursquare, LinkedIn, SoundCloud and Dribble all at once (Pinterest, Flicker, Vimeo, WordPress and RSS do not require any additional authorizations when being added). Each social settings section includes a link to the official Flow Flow documentation if you need help. We strongly recommend you follow their directions if you’re not sure how to setup your apps and/or access tokens.

Once your authorizations have been added and saved you will be able to create and activate feeds for these social networks.

Flow Flow Feed Error

If you accidentally enter the wrong information when creating a feed or forget to add the feed authorization you’ll see an orange exclamation icon (!) as the feed status. Just hover on the icon to see the feed error. Once you correctly edit the feed or authorization info you’ll have the option to enable your feed.

Step 4: Create Social Streams

Flow Flow Create Stream

After you’ve added all of your social feeds you can compile them into social streams. This is quick and easy. Just go to your “Streams” tab and click the green button to “Create Stream”

Add Social Feed Sources

Flow Flow Stream Settings

Give your stream a name and start adding your feeds. Just use the dropdown field to select then add each of your preferred feed sources.

Flow Flow Stream Source

As you add feeds you’ll be able to see them in your “Connected Feeds” section.

General

Flow Flow Stream General Options

Next click on the “General” tab to set important options for ordering, post count, lightbox, privacy, device display and more.

Grid

Flow Flow Stream Grid Settings

Do not skip these options! You’ll want to go to the “Grid” tab to change settings for grid design (masonry, equal grid or justified), columns & spacing, heading and more.

Social Stream Styling

Flow Flow Stream Custom Styling

Flow Flow makes it easy to create a custom looking stream. Use the options for card styling and the drag and drop card builder to recolor and reorganize your social stream posts.

Custom CSS

Flow Flow Stream Custom CSS

If you’re a developer or if you are well versed in CSS their is a built-in section to add your custom code. This is a great way to fine tune the visual display for your stream to really make it match your client’s website.

Shortcode

Flow Flow Stream Shortcode

The last tab for your stream contains the stream’s shortcode. This can be copy & pasted onto a post or page to instantly display your stream.

Step 5: Add Your Stream to Your Website

The last step is to make your stream visible by inserting it on a page. One option is to copy the shortcode and paste it into the text editor for your page. But if you’re using a theme with a page builder like our Total WordPress theme it’s as simple as clicking a few buttons.

Create a Social Stream Page

First create a new page, give it a name and choose your page layout, featured image, etc. Once you’re done with your page settings click on the Visual Composer backend or frontend editor (we like to see what we’re doing, so we always use the frontend editor with Total).

Insert the Flow Flow Module

Next click the plus (+) icon to add a new page element then select the Flow Flow Social Stream.

Select Your Stream

Then select the social stream you want to add and save your changes. That’s it! Just publish your page to make it visible to your website visitors.

More Flow Flow Features

The power behind Flow Flow doesn’t stop there! The developers have also released a couple helpful add-ons for the plugin to give you even more value added via your social streams.

Advertising & Branding: Monetize your social streams with the Flow Flow Advertising & Branding add-on. With this installed you can sell featured spots in your social stream, insert ads or even create hero cards for your social media campaigns.

Broadcasting Extension: Have a lobby in your office? Or perhaps your business is hosting or attending a conference? The Flow Flow Broadcasting Extension is just what you need. Use it to display your live social stream on a big screen (tv, projector, etc) and instantly draw attention to your most relevant posts, tweets, announcements, etc.

Final Thoughts

To sum up, Flow Flow is feature rich plugin that provides every WordPress user with an easy way to collectively display social feeds (whether it’s on your website or a big screen tv). We personally love the easy options, excellent documentation, integration with the Visual Composer (and Total) and useful extensions. You can learn more about Flow Flow on the plugin page, and we hope you’ll give it a try on your next client project or for your own personal website.

Have any questions about Flow Flow? Or maybe you’ve used the plugin and want to share some tips & tricks? Just leave a comment – we’d love to hear your thoughts!



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10 WordPress SEO Tips to Get More Traffic to Your Website


You have decided to launch a blog and make it a real game-changer. So, what are the first steps that you will take in order to make it as popular and attention-grabbing as you wish? Enhancing your blog with an eye-catching design will surely work for better attraction of the new customers. However, this will work when a person has already landed on your page. But how can you make them actually find you on the web and how to keep their attention grabbed with your data? This is when a proper SEO optimization of your online resource comes into play.

The web offers a huge variety of guides and tutorials on how to optimize your content in a way that it ranks higher in the search. But which of those instructions are truly effective and will work well on your WordPress blog? We have decided to enumerate the 10 universal SEO techniques that will make your personal or corporate blog shine on the web, no matter what niche you are related to.

Opt for a Responsive Design

Does your WordPress blog provide the web audience with a seamless browsing experience on all contemporary devices? Making your blog fully responsive guarantees that it will provide the web visitors with an enjoyable UX, as well as gain higher ranking in the search results.

Opt for a Responsive Design

In one of its latest updates of the search algorithm, Google stated that mobile-friendly designs would get additional ranking boost in the mobile search results. So, if you want to make your website more accessible to the online community, make sure that your blog can perform in any web environment equally well. Google’s tips for mobile-friendly websites will guide you in the right direction.

Make Your Content Powerful and Mighty

We will never get tired of repeating it over and over again that content is the king. Based on the quality of the data shared on your blog, we can speak about the possible future success and demand of your online resource. Create valuable pieces of data, which are relevant to the topic of your web resource. As you write, keep in mind who is your target audience and what types of posts are the most sharable and commented.

Titles

As you work on a blog post, pay special attention to its title. A well-written and eye catching headline is a way to success. Start off with a working title. Make it specific, accurate yet catching and intriguing.

  • Use clarifications like [interview], [podcast], [infographic], etc. making it easier to set clear expectations. Thus, your readers will know what exactly they will see after they open your post.
  • Keep it short. There is no one-size-fit-all rule on the most optimal length of the post titles. To the biggest degree, this depends on the goal that you pursue. If you want the title of your blog post to be shown in the search results properly, then the keep it less than 70 characters. In that way, the search engines won’t cut the length of the post title.
  • Use number and stats.
  • How-to posts have long gained popularity among the web users.
  • Do not forget to add the focus keyword to the post title.

Make Permalinks Short & Clear

Permalinks and link structure are important from the point of view of search engines. While opinions differ on the most optimal structure of permalinks, Google states it clearly that permalinks should be as simple as possible and as intelligent as a human-being, so that the search engines and searches can come across the desired piece of content with ease.

  • The optimal length of the permalink should be 100 characters maximum.
  • Use keywords to the point. Do not over-stuff permalinks with them.
  • Separate words with hyphens and omit stop words like ‘and’, ‘or’, ‘but’, ‘at’, etc.
  • Do not use dynamic properties (if possible).

Add Internal Linking between Your Blog Posts

It’s likely that the majority of the audience reaching your web resource will be made up of first-time visitors who know little to nothing about the topics that were highlighted on your site earlier. Internal links between posts can improve navigation on your site manifolds. While adding quick links to relevant publications, you suggest other articles that nay come in handy to your audience as they read your post. As a result, this will grow the user engagement and the average time that people spend on your blog.

Optimize Image File Names

Not only do texts but also images get ranked in Google. So, if you want to grow the users engagement, think about adding good name for image files as well. You could have noticed that Google reveals both texts and images on its search result pages, revealing relevant images that are added to blog body. As a person clicks on the image in Google, he is taken to the page where the image was published.

Optimize Image File Names

Instead of keeping the default file names generated by a digital camera, use descriptive words and phrases in the file name. Also, do not forget to use the alt tag and title tag for each image. Also, checkout this ultimate image optimization guide for even more image formatting and SEO tips.

Use Social Media

Today, everyone has a social media profile. So, why not share your publications on Facebook, Twitter or Google+? Social media marketing is a great way to generate new traffic. Let your social media followers keep track of your updates, but do not promote yourself only. Share articles from other blogs and site that you enjoy. Create a mix of promotional content with educational posts and fun data. Let your social media profile sound helpful to the audience.

Exchange Backlinks

No matter what industry your site is related to, there are always the trend-setters to whom the web community refers more often than to unknown names. Your industry also includes such trend-setters. These may be authority websites or other blogs. So, get in touch with them with the purpose to exchange links to the pages/topics that are relevant to the ones that you highlight on your own web portal.

Create a Sitemap

Your WordPress resource can contain tons of pages. In order to get it indexed by Google, the search engine needs to know your site structure. Creating a sitemap you can handle this job perfectly well.

WordPress includes a number of plugins that you can use for a proper SEO optimization of your pages. One of them is Google XML Sitemaps. This is a free WordPress plugin that generates a sitemap of your site automatically, so that Google can index your blog more efficiently.

Use SEO-friendly Themes

There are thousands of ready-made WordPress themes for blogs to choose from, both free and premium. Fast-performing and mobile-friendly, these are commonly optimized for a quick and flawless performance in the contemporary search engines. WordPress blog themes from TemplateMonster, for example, will save you loads of time for a proper optimization of your pages and content, thus growing the chances of your projects to become more visible on the web.

Use the aforementioned tips to make your content better findable on the web. Experiment with different techniques of the proper data optimization, engage the audience via the search engine, and make them reach your WordPress blog to never leave for a competitor’s site.

And if you have any additional tips leave a comment!



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Why nginx is WordPress Hosting’s Best Friend


In my previous article I explored why PHP7 is the way to go for WordPress and in today’s article it’s the webserver’s turn.

A big part of a good hosting experience is how the webserver stack is configured. Having a fast stack is paramount to good WordPress performance & a great user experience. I’ve already discussed why PHP7 is such a good way to automatically improve WordPress performance but what about the actual webserver?

Today I’m going to explain: what is a webserver, what are the most popular ones and why nginx is so damn good!

The Webserver

One of the most important aspects of hosting is the actual webserver. The webserver is responsible for providing static content such as HTML and sending it to the client (which means, right into your browser). So the webserver will also be responsible for processing all the information that comes via the PHP processor and converting it to bits that travel through the network into your browser. The webserver stack works with the client / server model where the webserver is acting as a server (provider of content) and the client (you) the one that request it.

The most common webservers are Apache, IIS from Microsoft and of course nginx.

The webserver is able to handle both static & dynamic content that is sent to the client with some slightly differences. The server part loads into memory in what is called a worker process and it’s responsible of providing the content requested. Both Apache & nginx handle static and dynamic content. While Apache is able to handle both inside the same worker process, nginx does not as it needs an external processor to do it.

Why are Apache and nginx so popular? The simple answer is because they are Open Source and free. Together they make up almost 50% of all the traffic in the world, not an easy feat!

What is Apache?

The Apache HTTP server was created by Robert McCool in 1995 and it’s still under development under The Apache Software Foundation. This webserver has been the most popular choice since 1996. It’s very modular in design, has tons of documentation and it’s so popular that it’s the basis for all the major Web Hosting Control Panels. It’s even included in cPanel, the most used control panel in the world.

Of course it’s flexible, that’s the excuse that the vast majority of people using it will come up with when asked and generally, that’s true. It is also very extensible and since it can load modules dynamically (something nginx is still working on) it can be configured with ease.

Apache is able to handle static and dynamic content all by itself in the same worker so it’s perfect for it’s flexibility but (and there is always a but) it does so at the expense of performance.

Apache has been known for being somewhat slow but nothing came close to exposing this truth as when nginx became popular. The performance difference between them is something that cannot be overlooked. For this matter alone, most major companies are switching over to nginx. Even though Apache is still popular, things will surely change in the future as technology catches up and more and more software that were previously working only on apache start to include nginx.

What About Nginx?

Nginx comes from mother Russia. In 2002 a programmer named Igor Sysoev began working on nginx as he was profoundly concerned about the C10K problem. The what? To put it simply, optimizing network sockets to handle a large number of clients at the same time which was Apache’s main drawback and a real challenge for the modern web. The initial nginx release was made public in 2004 based on an events-driven architecture.

Not even Sysoev himself could see how much success nginx would have. The tremendous benefits of speed under nginx and the low resource utilization became evident as time passed. Nginx has a magnificent way of providing with static content but cannot handle dynamic content. This also proved to be a benefit because the dynamic content wasn’t bound to the same worker and thus, could work much faster.

Nginx excels at providing faster content to a much higher volume of connections than Apache and is currently the choice for hosting services that want to offer the best performance possible. It’s event-driven architecture and it’s asynchronous nature are the main points for it’s performance.

Initially nginx had one main drawback, it’s documentation. It had a rough start due to the programmer being Russian and the way he documented it’s functions. But as time has passed and more and more people use nginx the documentation has improved immensely.

The other drawback of nginx it’s in it’s lack of modular design which means it cannot process rules in realtime like Apache does with it’s .htaccess file and cannot load modules in realtime either. This is something that nginx is already working on but will still need time to match Apache’s flexibility.

The drawbacks nevertheless are quickly overshadow by the superb performance. This in itself has allowed nginx to become the popular choice for performance oriented hosting and it’s the basis for service as widely used as Steam, proving time and time again that it can consistently score higher than Apache in every way.

Why is Nginx the Preferred Choice for WordPress Hosting?

There are several points in which nginx is far better than Apache for hosting WordPress sites. I’ll try to summarize this into the following list.

Easy to Install

Nginx is a complete package, it requires very few external modules to work and the vast majority of the time, it only takes one line in linux to enable it.

apt-get install nginx

yum install nginx

It’s all it takes for nginx to be active as a service. The rest is in the configuration.

Can work as a proxy for Apache or any other webserver

Nginx can provide an instant performance increase to any Apache webserver configuration by running as a proxy without affecting the functionality of the server in any way.

Can work directly with a microcache or even fastcgi cache

Nginx is great thanks to it’s built in microcache and can even work with an fastcgi cache to speed up performance by a factor of 10. Nginx can also provide a tremendous increase in performance when working with a fastcgi cache and won’t even need an external caching mechanism such as memcache.

It’s incredibly fast for serving content

Nginx is lighting fast when dealing with static content and it’s very easy to configure for such purposes. A single line of code can enable access the most common files such as static content and improve it’s performance. Plus, if you know how to configure HttpProxyModule you can even achieve the same level of performance for Dynamic content without affecting the functionality of the webserver.

Almost 4 times more concurrent connections than Apache

If you’re considering hosting a very high demand website with tons of thousands of visits per day it would be good for you to know that nginx can process as much as four times the amount of concurrent connections as Apache, which means 2 things:

  • Your website will be faster overall
  • You will need fewer resources than Apache to do it.

This is due to the event-driven nature of nginx and it’s reponsible for the next benefit.

Very Lightweight

Nginx is so well crafted that it’s incredible lightweight on resources. This means it will use less CPU time to process each connection request and will do so using a lot less memory. This will allow you to host bigger sites using the same server that were previously unable to do so in Apache.

The secret of it’s success is in the engine itself. Nginx works as an event triggered webserver which means it will listen “events” on the worker and will respond only when needed. The ondemand argument inside nginx allows the service to spawn and remove listeners on demand. This helps reduce memory usage and increase efficiency. Apache tried to include an event mode in the mpm-event worker but it failed miserably in matching nginx speed because Apache wasn’t constructed as an event-driven webserver.

It can do Load Balance

Nginx can be configured for load balance, hence, increasing it’s rate of concurrent connections even more by spreading the load between several servers making it ideal for projects that have a very high load of concurrent connections.

What Does This All Mean?

It means that nginx is ideal for WordPress in almost every way. It means that you will reap the benefits of using it almost immediately after implementation. If you are a system administrator, installing nginx is a no-brainier. If on the contrary you want to design a project or host your website and want to host it elsewhere, chances are really high that if your hosting use nginx, it will work faster.

High quality hosting companies such as WP Engine and Flywheel already run on nginx. But if you’re going to go with a different hosting company, do your research or ask a support tech if the webserver stack includes nginx. I can guarantee you that if the service is a quality one it will have nginx included in some part of the stack.



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Build the Best Pricing Tables with Go Pricing for WordPress


More and more businesses are turning to WordPress to build amazing websites. Spas, colleges, web design firms, legal offices, hospitals – the list goes on and on. Which makes perfect sense! WordPress is a fast, easy and secure way to build an impressive website. Plus there are thousands of themes and plugins to choose from to make building any type of website possible.

Of all the professional features businesses are sure to require a beautiful, option rich pricing table surely tops the list. For many entrepreneurs a website’s main purpose is to drum up new business and clientele which is why a pricing table is key. Customers should be able to investigate packages or services at a glance, see which is right for them and then either complete purchase or reach out for more information.

The Best Pricing Table Plugin for WordPress

A good pricing table should include plenty of options for columns, fonts, colors, and icons. A great pricing table should also support images, video, custom buttons, table animations and more. But the best pricing table plugin, in our opinion is Go Pricing.

Why do we think Go Pricing is the best? Because not only does the plugin come with tons of styling options but it also includes easy to import sample tables (250+ to choose from in fact), compatibility with the Visual Composer plugin for easy pricing page building, awesome online documentation and of course compatibility with the Total WordPress theme.

These core features make Go Pricing super easy to use which is a huge plus for anyone building a website themselves. You don’t want a plugin that takes months to master. Go Pricing is full of great options with intuitive settings making it a piece of cake for you to start building your own custom pricing tables in minutes.

But those are just words – how about we show you why we love Go Pricing? Keep reading to see how to get started with Go Pricing tables for WordPress and how easy it can be to build custom tables for your products, packages or services!

Go Pricing Responsive Pricing Tables Quick Setup Guide

Just like any premium plugin you’ll need to purchase your own copy before you can get started. Just visit Codecanyon to get a copy.

Get Go Pricing for WordPress

Once you’ve purchased your copy of the plugin go ahead and download the plugin package. Simply navigate to your downloads page on Codecanyon.

Go Pricing: Download Installable File

From here click on the Download button and select the “Installable WordPress file only option.” This way you only download the installable plugin zip. If you do select the “All files” option by mistake don’t worry – you’ll just need to unzip the file you download and locate the plugin zip file in the folder.

Step 1: Install Go Pricing

With your plugin files at the ready it’s time to get to installing! Log into your WordPress site. First make sure you have a theme installed and preferably some sample data or the beginnings of your actual site data started (this will make it easier later on when inserting your pricing tables). For this guide we’re using the Total WordPress theme which includes the Visual Composer page builder (for free) and is fully compatible with Go Pricing (making it so much easier to design your website).

Total includes an easy to use Demo Importer option in the theme panel so all you have to do is point and click to import an entire sample demo, content and all. When you’re ready to go to the next step, navigate to the “Plugins” tab.

Go Pricing: Add New Plugin

Click on the “Add New” button at the top of the page.

Go Pricing: Upload New Plugin

Then click the button again to “Upload Plugin.” Next click the “Choose File” option and select the zip file you downloaded from Codecanyon earlier and follow the prompts to install and activate the plugin.

Go Pricing: Activate Plugin

When alls said and done you should see a brand new Go Pricing menu item in your righthand dashboard menu. Just click it to get started with your tables!

Step 2: Import & Customize Tables

Go Pricing makes it super easy to get started with over 250 sample tables to choose from that you can import with just a few clicks. Visit the Go Pricing website to view all the different sample table options they offer in every color, shape and style imaginable.

Go Pricing: Download Sample Tables

When you find a table you like click the blue button to download the sample data set it’s a part of.

Go Pricing: Upload Sample Tables

Next go back to your WordPress installation, navigate to Go Pricing > Import and drag & drop the sample .txt file you downloaded earlier. This will open a new option to select either all the tables in the sample set or to pick and choose which you want to import (we selected two, which you’ll see below).

Go Pricing: New Tables

Click next and voila! You now have new pricing tables ready to go! To begin editing hover on a table and click on the pencil icon.

Go Pricing: Edits

From here you can make all kinds of tweaks and changes to your tables. Use the settings at the top to tweak options for your entire table including:

  • Name & ID: Give your table a name and an ID to be used in the shortcode
  • Skin & Style: Enable the clean or classic skin, set borders, box shadow, default font family and tooltip settings
  • Layout: Set options for your columns spacing, min/max width, equal heights and full-height backgrounds
  • Responsivity: Decide if you want your tables to be responsive and where you want your cutoff points to be for various devices
  • Animation: Enable animations for your tables, if you want them to loop and the offset %
  • Custom CSS: This is should be a pretty straightforward option – add custom CSS for any custom styling you want to apply to your entire table

To edit your table columns, simply click on the plus (+) icons for various options:

  • General: Choose from 15 pre-set column styles, enable a highlight or hover, add a shadow decoration and a transition animation
  • Header: Select a standard or circle style, add a header background, set your title, add a price or use the General section to add custom HTML & CSS
  • Body: From here you can add your package or service features by inserting additional rows, or use this section to build an entirely custom pricing table with custom code
  • Footer: Add a button for clients to purchase or learn more using all the options for style, fonts, color, background, etc (in fact – you can event add buttons that go directly to PayPal using the Form Submit Button type)

Your options are pretty much endless! Use the “Preview” option to check your work as you go, and once you’re done don’t forget to “Save.”

Step 3: Add Your Tables to Pages

With your table ready to go you can insert it into your homepage, landing page, pricing, about or anywhere else. Just copy the table shortcode from the “Name & ID” section on the table editor screen and paste it into the rich text editor where you want your table to appear.

But if you’re using Visual Composer (and the Total theme) this next step is even easier. Go Pricing has it’s very own Visual Composer module so you can use it as a part of your page building process.

Go Pricing: Insert Module

Simply go to the page you’re working on where you want to insert your new pricing table and click the plus (+) icon to insert a new module. Then select the Go Pricing table module to choose the table you want to add to your page. Click “Save” to apply your module changes and insert the table.

Go Pricing Finished Tables

That’s it! You’ve just added your beautiful new tables to your page so your customer base can easily browse your package or service offerings.

More About Go Pricing

Go Pricing also has a couple premium add-ons available that you can use to choose from even MORE pricing table designs and skins. Plus if you visit the Go Pricing page on Codecanyon you can checkout some of the awesome 5-star reviews they’ve received from their more than 9000+ very happy customers.

Learn More About Go Pricing

So what do you think of Go Pricing? Have you used it before? Or do you think you’ll give it a try? And if you have any questions feel free to ask!



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When to Use WordPress Post Formats Vs. Custom Post Types


One of the first things you’ll notice about using WordPress is how easy it is to publish content using posts and pages. However, after a while you may find that those two options alone don’t meet your needs. A truly unique and well-designed site will often benefit from additional ways to customize your content.

That’s where ‘post formats’ and ‘custom post types’ come into play. The former enables you to select from a list of pre-defined formatting options for each post, while the latter makes various types of non-post content possible. These features do have their differences, but both can help you design a site that is more functional and compelling to visitors.

In this article, we’ll explain what post formats and custom post types are, and discuss how the two features are similar yet distinct. Then we’ll talk about each option separately, and give you some advice about when to use them. Let’s get started!

The Difference Between Post Formats and Custom Post Types

A blog post using the Total theme.

Much of the content you add to your WordPress blog will be in the form of posts, but there are other options.

Post formats and custom post types have been around in WordPress for a while. They may sound complicated at first, but both are merely ways of formatting your blog or website’s content.

As the name implies, post formats are different types of blog posts with varying appearances. When you create a new post, you can assign it a format – the usual choice is Standard, but there are other options such as Gallery, Quote, or Video. Your selection tells WordPress what the post should look like. Many themes set up custom designs for the various post types. For example, your theme may specify that each post marked as a ‘quote’ will be formatted as a block quotation.

In contrast, the term ‘post types’ is a little misleading. It actually encompasses any type of content you add to your site. Regular ‘posts’ and ‘pages’ are both post types, as are menus. While WordPress core comes with a selection of default post types, many themes and plugins include additional content options. WooCommerce, for example, will add a Products custom post type to your site that enables you to create product pages.

In a nutshell, here are the similarities and differences between post formats and custom post types:

  • Both are ways of telling WordPress how your content should appear.
  • The results you get by using both will vary based on your theme and plugins.
  • Custom post types are extra options for creating WordPress content, while post formats are different ways of styling blog posts.

Now you have some familiarity with both concepts, let’s explore each one in further detail.

When to Use Post Formats

The audio post format in Total.

With Total, you can use the Audio post format to share a podcast with your readers.

You may be tempted to use the Standard format for every blog post, since it offers consistency for your content. If you only create traditional text-based blog posts, this approach can be ideal.

However, if you post many different types of content – or if you’re looking for a way to change up your content’s appearance – non-standard post formats can help you out. They’re particularly useful if you want to share a lot of quick content and resources with your readers, without having to compose long posts.

The post formats you have access to depends on your theme. For example, our Total theme currently includes the following post format options: Image, Gallery, Quote, Audio, and Video. This selection enables you to provide a diverse range of content for your readers and highlight the particular resource you’re sharing, without requiring you to do extra work.

A Standard post in Total looks something like this:

A standard blog post in Total.

However, if you use the Quote format, the resulting content will display as a box quote. The title of the post can be used as an attribution:

A quote post format in Total.

On the other hand, you can select the Gallery format to create a post that includes several different images:

The gallery post format in Total.

Ultimately, choosing a theme that supports non-standard post formats is a smart idea because it gives you a way to categorize and vary your blog content, while making the purpose of each post clear to readers. If you intend to use your blog as a social media feed and share thoughts, links, and resources with your audience, you’ll should be able to make use of post formats.

When to Use Custom Post Types

The product custom post type in WooCommerce.

E-commerce plugins such as WooCommerce often add a custom post type that enables you to create product pages.

As we mentioned earlier, post types are not just about posts. The name is a holdover from when WordPress was a platform specifically for blogging, and now encompasses both posts and pages. There are a number of other default post types too, although you don’t need to worry about them right now.

For our purposes, post types matter because WordPress gives developers the option to create their own custom post versions. It means that, depending on the theme and plugins you’re using, you may have access to more than two ways to format your content. Therefore, when you’re shopping around for themes and plugins it’s a good idea to pay attention to whether they add custom post types.

Our Total theme includes three custom post types: Staff, Testimonials, and Portfolio. These are useful options for businesses and freelancers who may want to include these types of information. The Portfolio option, for example, is a perfect way to display your best works (and include descriptions and pertinent details):

The portfolio custom post type in Total.

Testimonials, on the other hand, enables you to create pages showing off what your clients and professional connections have to say about you and your company:

The testimonials custom post type in Total.

And finally, the Staff custom post type puts the spotlight on the people behind your business, and is a perfect way to include bio information and contact details:

The staff custom post type in Total.

If you’re only creating a simple blog with a few supporting pages, you’ll probably be content with the default post types. However, if you want to highlight your portfolio, display key information about your team, show off glowing testimonials, or even add a store with product pages, extra custom post types can come in very handy.

Conclusion

Features such as post formats and custom post types can seem intimidating if you’re new to WordPress – or to web design in general. However, once you understand these options and when to use them, they’ll provide you with a new level of flexibility in customizing your site. That’s why it’s smart to look for a theme such as Total, which provides both options (among other features).

To recap, here are the major differences between post formats and custom post types:

  1. Post formats: These are various ways of styling your blog posts based on their content, which are useful if you share many types of resources with your readers.
  2. Custom post types: On the other hand, these are different types of content you can use to add advanced features to your site, such as testimonials, staff profiles, and a portfolio of your work or products.

Do you have any questions about how to use post formats and custom post types? Ask away in the comments section below!



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How to Clean Your WordPress Cache Like a Pro


I think you will agree when I say that the mention of cache doesn’t elicit the best of feelings unless, of course, you’re one of those tech-savvy cool kids. Nah, still it doesn’t elicit the best of feelings.

Yet the concept of cache is so easy to understand, you don’t need a degree in anything. Moreover, it turns out cleaning cache on your WordPress site is super-duper easy you can do it before the next guy makes a cup of coffee.

And in today’s post, we show you exactly how to clean WordPress cache like a pro. By the end of the post, WordPress cache will be one thing you needn’t worry about ever again. You’re welcome to opine and share your experiences in the comment section.

First, let’s set the stage.

What is Cache?

In general computing terms, caching is simply storing data in temporary memory as opposed to the main memory. Cache (pronounced cash) is a technology through which a piece of hardware or software stores temporary data that’s faster to retrieve the second time you need it.

Think of it as moving the remote controller from the media cabinet to wherever you’re seating. Next time you need to change the TV channel, you can do it faster since you don’t need to walk to the media cabinet all over again.

If you don’t watch TV, here’s another illustration. If a website caches content on your browser, it simply means the website saves temporary data on your browser. This data can be anything – images, JavaScript files, etc. – the things that don’t usually change over long periods.

The next time you visit said website, the cached content loads from your browser rather than the origin web server. This means the data isn’t sent over a second time, since it already exists on your browser/PC. The end result is a faster experience, saved bandwidth and reduced server load.

Types of WordPress Cache

As far as speeding up WordPress websites go, there are four types of cache to keep in mind. Let’s go over each briefly:

Browser Cache

In a bid to provide a better user experience while browsing, modern day browsers come fitted with caching capabilities. Whether you are using Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Edge or Safari, your browser automatically caches content from the websites you visit.

This way, you experience faster loading when you visit a cached website subsequently. Your WordPress site can take advantage of browser caching to deliver a faster experience to all of your users. You can establish caching rules for your content, ensuring your server receive queries for new content only.

This way your WordPress site needn’t request for content such as banner images, the logo, JavaScript files, stylesheets, etc. since the data is already saved on your PC. Unless, of course you update your website and purge browser cache, something we will cover in the coming sections.

Plugin Cache

Then we have plugin cache, which represents all the temporary data your cache plugin saves. Depending on your preferences, your plugin cache might include HTML files, compiled PHP code, MySQL queries, and web objects among other things.

There are numerous cache plugins out there, but the two most popular are W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache. Both plugins are brilliant at caching WordPress sites, and can significantly reduce the time it takes for your pages to load. Which caching plugin do you use on your WordPress site? Let us know in the comments ?

If you recall, we have severally said WordPress builds web pages from PHP and data queried from your MySQL database. Now, instead of recreating pages each time a user visits, your cache plugin serves the saved copies easing the load on your server, which translates to better performance. Caching also reduces the to-and-fro transfer of files.

Server Cache

Most hosting providers offer caching features to speed up your WordPress sites. This is especially the norm with most managed WordPress hosts such as WPEngine, Flywheel and Pagely among others. The foregoing links redirect to support pages showing how you to flush cache for each host.

It’s all about improving the speed of your WordPress website, this caching business. Each host uses a different type of caching architecture depending on their setup, but it all boils down to just one thing – improving performance. It’s best to consult your host  in the off-chance you have a problem with your server cache.

Some hosting companies create cache locally and others use advanced techniques such as reverse proxy servers. This just means placing multiple cache servers “in-front” of the main server. First-time requests will be made to the main server but subsequent requests are served by the cache servers.

3rd Party Cache

The hell is third party cache? Good question. If you use a web application such as CloudFlare, StackPath or Sucuri, note that one of the first things they do to improve the performance of your WordPress site is build cache.

As a matter of fact, I have seen a website using 3rd party cache to create the illusion of being online, while their website was completely down. Visitors to the domain were redirected to a cache, which is way better than, well, nothing. Only dynamic content such as media downloads were missing. Static pages were all there.

Where Are We In All This?

At this juncture you no longer think cache is an alien monster you should fear. Indeed, knowledge is power. But seeing caching is great for your WordPress site, why would you want to clear your cache in the first place?

Why Clean WordPress Cache?

Firstly, if you make changes to your WordPress site but don’t see the updates after hitting refresh, you may need to clear your WordPress cache. And by this we mean any or all of the four types of cache we outlined a moment ago.

Secondly, changing settings inside the admin can break your site’s design. At this juncture, cleaning cache after making the requisite changes is a no brainer. Otherwise, you and your visitors might continue seeing the broken design.

Thirdly, pages might get modified on the server during the caching process. Other times, cache that has been misconfigured will serve stale content to your users, which is just sad. Both times, cleaning your WordPress cache is your saving grace.

How to Clean WordPress Cache In A Split Second

The best part of this guide, cleaning your WordPress cache is as easy as A, B, C. In extreme situations, you might want to contact your host if you believe the problem lies with server cache. In most cases though, the three scenarios we mentioned a few secs ago are due to browser cache or cache plugins.

Let’s start with the easiest to clean.

How to Clean Browser Cache

Cleaning browser cache is extremely easy you have probably done it many times before. Your experience differs depending on the browser you have, but we cover only the three main browsers. You can always share how you clean cache in your browser in the comments ?

Google Chrome

My personal favorite, Chrome is undoubtedly fast thanks to a lightweight design and great caching. The easy design makes cleaning your WordPress cache a breeze. Just click the menu icon and navigate to More Tools –> Clear browsing data… as shown below:

how to clean WordPress cache chrome

Doing this will lead you to a popup where you can choose what you need to clean. Here, you can delete everything from browser history to cookies and more since the beginning of time. However, we’re interested in cache, so tick “Cached images and files” only. Next, click the “Clear browsing data” button:

how to clean WordPress cache chrome part two

And you’re done!

Mozilla Firefox

Similarly, cleaning cache in Firefox is the stuff of fourth graders. Just click the menu icon and then click the History tab as shown below:

how to clean WordPress cache firefox

Clicking on the History tab will bring up another panel as shown below. From this panel, click on the “Clear Recent History” menu item:

how to clean WordPress cache firefox part 2

This brings up a popup where you can choose whatever you want to clear from your browser. Choose the time range to clear (I usually set this to everything). Tick the “Cache” checkbox and finally the “Clear Now” button as shown below:

how to clean WordPress cache firefox part 3

Microsoft Edge

Formerly known as Internet Explorer, Edge is Microsoft’s attempt at reclaiming a market they once dominated. Edge is a significant improvement of what most people know as the mother of all web browsers. While I always choose Chrome, Edge is not badly off. How to clean cache?

Click the menu icon and choose Settings:

how to clean WordPress cache edge

This opens a new panel with all of your browser settings. Scroll down to Clear browsing data and click on the “Choose what to clear” button:

how to clean WordPress cache edge part 2

This action leads to a third panel, showing you all the things you delete from Edge. Choose “Cached data and files” and hit the “Clear” button:

how to clean WordPress cache edge part 3

You can even choose to clear cache automatically every time you close Edge, a feature not found in the other browsers.

After cleaning your browser cache, reload your WordPress site. Did you resolve your cache-related problem after cleaning browser cache? If the problem persists, the other most likely culprit is your cache plugin.

How to Clean Plugin Cache

The procedure to clean WordPress cache here depends on the caching plugin you use. All the same, cleaning WordPress cache using a plugin is as simple as clicking a button. Let’s get this over and done with.

W3 Total Cache

W3 Total Cache is one of the most popular WordPress cache plugins out there. With over 1 million active installs including the likes of AT&T and MakeUseOf among others, this caching plugin is something else. It ships with a great suite of features that promise better performance and conversions.

To clean WordPress cache in W3 Total Cache, just navigate to Performance -> Dashboard in your WordPress admin. Within the W3 Total Cache dashboard, click the “empty all caches” button as shown below:

how to clean WordPress cache w3 total cache

WP Super Cache

Brought to you by Automattic, the same guys who gave us many other awesome products such as Jetpack, Akismet and WooCommerce among others, WP Super Cache is a remarkable WordPress performance optimization tool.

To clean WordPress cache in WP Super Cache just navigate to Settings on your WordPress admin menu. Next, click WP Super Cache and then the “Delete cache” button as shown in the image below:

how to clean WordPress cache wp super cache

How to Clean Server & 3rd Party Cache

WP Engine Cache

If you use a 3rd party web application or a host that supports caching it may be a bit of a different process. For example, WP Engine has a custom hosting panel built into the WordPress dashboard. All you have to do is click on it to access options to purge your cache or reset file permissions. Here area few helpful links to resources showing you exactly how to clear WordPress cache in a couple common scenarios:

Wrapping Up

And there you have it – all the best ways to clean WordPress cache like easily and in record time. How do you clean cache on your WordPress site? If you have a question or suggestion about WordPress cache, please don’t hesitate reaching out in the comment section below.



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Common Mistakes with WordPress Image SEO


All that we have learnt in the past two articles would go down the river if we don’t implement a proper image SEO strategy. Image SEO plays an important role in your overall SEO strategy and is crucial for sites that share tutorials. Think of all the traffic you would be losing if your images were not named improperly, did not have ‘alt’ tags or worse, hosted on different servers.

WordPress Image SEO Mistakes

We’ll visit the top mistakes when it comes to image SEO – and recommend the appropriate countermeasures.

You’re not using Relevant Images

Meet Ronald and company

Imaging you and your buddies are having a serious discussion on which mode to transport to take for your upcoming trip. Both the interstate bus and the flight seem like good options – but you’re stuck on the budget versus time debate. There are two teams – spearheaded by Ronald and Jeremy. Ronald wants to catch a flight so he does not have to reschedule his Friday meetings. Jeremy on the other hand, being an admirer of Mother Earth, doesn’t mind trading his meeting schedule to enjoy the scenic beauty that lay ahead in the interstate bus journey. Of course, every member in the travel group picks sides – the ones that don’t want a ten-hour long bus journey are with Ronald on the fight. The other team who want to admire Mother Nature’s beauty find it absolutely necessary to take the bus.

Both sides are trying their level best to convince the other to take their side. Amidst what appeared to be one of the most critical discussions of their lives, Ron made the mistake of uttering the following words:

RON: Hey guys, I’m fine with either mode of transport. Who should babysit my cat over the weekend?
JEREMY: What? You could leave it at Emily’s place! Wait, why are we even discussing this?
GUY FROM JEREMY’S TEAM: Yeah, don’t you see we’re in the middle of an important conversation?
GUY ON ROLAND’S TEAM: Come on, man!
ROLAND: What the hell Ron! Can’t you see we’re in the middle of a crisis here?
RON (freaked out a little bit): Okay, okay, I’ll leave Sarah with Emily. Jeez.
COLLECTIVELY: Damn it, Ron! You always do this…

And the debate resumes.

You don’t want to be Ron now, do you? That’s the same with relevancy. Images are worth a thousand words. But if you’re not careful, you might lose the person’s attention in a different train of thought.

You’re probably thinking of New York right about now

One of the first rules of adding an image to your post is to enhance the way you communicate your idea. Images are designed to deliver value.

That’s why WPExplorer’s tutorials are filled with screenshots, and theme lists focus on displaying the best bits/demos of each theme.

This value could be (a) informative in nature, (b) carry a visual or emotional impact or (c) a mixture of both. The best images are most often a combination of the three.

Example of Github’s Landing Page – An illustration of a developer at his work desk

That being said, there is no point of using an image for the sake of adding one. Such actions are often counterproductive. On the other hand, the right image could deliver multi-fold benefit to your conversions.

The above screenshot is Github’s one of many landing pages. Let’s examine the image. First off, you’ll notice that this image is actually a vector illustration. The illustration overcomes any and all racial/ethnic barriers. Plus, the colour blue which is in tune with the overall colour scheme of the page nullifies any subconscious profiling. An excellent example of the correct use of an image – coupled with amazing copy and CTA – making a great landing page.

You’re Not Concentrating on Image Filename

I get it – creating quality tutorials is hard work. Each step needs to be articulately documented and yet not so descriptive that your readers take it as an insult to their intelligence.

When you’ve worked on an 1800-word tutorial and covered over a dozen screenshots, it’s very easy to get persuaded and use names such as screenshot-1, screenshot-17, etc.

But in reality, that absolutely hurts your SEO.

WordPress permalink settings

Think about it – if someone were searching for anything remotely related to the image shown above – would they use ‘screenshot-1’ or ‘image-1’ or are they more likely to search for “how to turn off permalinks in WordPress”

On a related note, if you want to give it your 100% to image SEO, then add a TITLE attribute to the images as well. The value of this TITLE tag could be your image’s filename.

You’re Not Defining ALT tags

ALT tags stand for alternative text of an image. It should be used in every image regardless dimension, priority or anything of the like. Very simply put ALT tags are a description of your image. What does your image represent in the literal sense?

ALT tags are used by search engines to crawl your image. If the image cannot be rendered, the ALT tag of the image is used in its place. ALT tags are also used by screen-readers for people who have lost their eyesight.

For example, the ALT tag or descriptive text of our previous screenshot could be:

Screenshot of the WordPress dashboard showing the permalinks settings, with the default option checked.

Writing detailed ALT tags can be a real bummer, but the efforts pay off. Unfortunately, I could not find a recent study which shows growth in organic traffic due to ALT tag optimization. Most of them are comments in forums. If you happen to come across such studies, do share them with us!

You Are Keyword Stuffing Your TITLE and ALT tags

Keyword stuffing is basically like adding all your popular keywords just to get some last-mile SEO juice. However, in reality, it is like using poor quality oil in your well-oiled car in the making. Google is only getting smarter every day, which means that it knows when you’re trying to mess with it. Result? Your SEO scores a penalized.

A typical example of a keyword stuffed ALT tag would be:

Screenshot of the WordPress dashboard showing the permalinks settings, with the default option checked BEST FREE AND PREMIUM WORDPRESS THEMES WPEXPLORER

My advice? Don’t take the shortcut. You’ve worked hard to define your ALT tags – the fruits of your labour will follow.

You’re Not Using Image Captions

The thing about ALT and TITLE tags is that they aren’t really visible to the reader/visitor. Search engines love it, but as a person reading your article, I really don’t hover over the image to see your alternative text, much less open the image in a new tab just so I could see the filename. (Of course, if I were saving an image, a nice, descriptive filename would definitely make my day!)

We’ve established that ALT and TITILE tags, no matter how crucial for SEO, do not really play a major role in the visitor’s reading experience.

This is where captions come in. According to a Kissmetrics study, it was found that image captions get read 300% more than the actual body copy. That’s a heck of a lot more eyeballs than expected.

Responsive design. This is an example of an image caption!

If your captions are catchy, then there is a good chance that the reader will stick through and read what you have to say. Think about it this way:

  • TITLE tag is a succinct filename for the image file
  • ALT tag is a descriptive write-up of the contents of the image
  • Caption is for the reader. It’s a mix of the TITLE and ALT tags designed to enhance the visitor’s reading experience.

You Haven’t Submitted an Image Sitemap

A website is essentially a collection of a bunch of interlinked HTML pages. A sitemap is a document containing information on how all the pages of your website is structured. These typically do not contain information your website’s images.

This is where image sitemaps come in. The Udinra All Image Sitemap is the perfect plugin for the job. The plugin supports image slider plugins such as NextGen Gallery and Envira Gallery; eCommerce plugins such as WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads, and page builder plugins such as Visual Composer, Site Origin, etc.

Image Performance Optimization

A site’s overall performance is a crucial factor in SEO. When it comes to performance optimization, nothing is perfect – there is always room for improvement. Take a recent example where Google reduced its logo from 14,000 bytes to 305 bytes and still continues to evolve.

Following are a couple of image optimization tips we shared in our previous posts.

You’re Not Optimizing your Images

  • One of the best ways to optimize your images is to use tools such as TinyPNG to reduce and optimize the file size.
  • You also need to define a max size for all your images and resize all images that are larger than the max size.
  • But before you get started with the above, you’re going to have to learn the correct format for saving an image.

I’m assuming you already have this in place. If not, please go through our first post – it’s all we talk about!

You’re Not Using Responsive Images

We all use responsive websites. It is absolutely crucial to have a mobile-friendly website in this day and age. If you don’t, you’re potentially losing out on customers, and not to mention SEO score. (Yes, Google will actually penalize you if your website is not mobile friendly.)

Now let’s discuss responsive images. With WordPress 4.4, the responsive images property is enabled by default. When you upload an image, WordPress creates multiple versions of it, for different screen sizes.

With the new support for responsive images, WordPress includes all the available sizes of an image into a srcset attribute. This enables the web browser to choose from the options and download the most appropriate image dimension, based on the device’s screen size. The browser ignores the others—potentially saving bandwidth and speeding up page load times in the process.

If for some reason, you have not updated to WordPress 4.4, you use the RICG Responsive Images plugin to get the same set of features. If you are on the latest version of WordPress, you actually do not need this plugin.

You’re Not Using a Free CDN

The second way to improve performance is by using a free CDN such as Photon from the highly popular Jetpack module. We love Jetpack for many reasons and Photon is just one of them. If you were wondering what Photon is – it is a free image CDN service from WordPress. Jetpack’s Photon module takes all the images from your site and stores it in WordPress.com’s global content distribution network. Images are offloaded from you server, loaded faster and you save on bandwidth costs. What else could you want?

You’re Not Lazy Loading Images

Smelly cat, lazy cat, what are they feeding you?

With lazy loading enabled, the images are loaded when they appear in your viewport. For example, let’s say you’re reading a 2000-word article on the best podcasting solutions for WordPress. You don’t need to look at all the images till you reach the end of the article. Enabling lazy loading drastically reduces the load times and saves both your and the visitor’s bandwidth.

The BJ Lazy Load plugin is your answer. With over 50,000 active installations, you can’t go wrong. Download and activate the plugin and let the magic start with one click.

However, on the flip side, there are some potential pitfalls when it comes to lazy-loading images. If you are not careful, you might run the risk of hurting your SEO scores. Rest assured, if you use the recommended plugins you’ll be sorted. Also, if you do use other lazy login plugins, try the Fetch as Google for websites to ensure that all your content can be crawled properly by search engines.

A Few Tips on Image Usage

The following tips should not be considered as mistakes, but more of general guidelines which can improve the quality of your content.

Steer Clear of Generic Stock Photos

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you see this image?

Nothing is more off-putting the same image of a customer support executive smiling at you in the Contact Us page. Or an obvious stock photo of models in an About Us or worse, Join Us page. Everyone is so accustomed to them, that we can almost instantaneously recognize them. If you want a prospect or a customer to reach out to you – either have a great support team photo out there or be simple – make a helpful contact form. But don’t (for the love of God) use a stock image in your About Us, Join Us or Contact Us pages. Today, they will most certainly cause more harm than good.

Use GIFs When Possible

Happiness is Nicolas Cage. Source: GIPHY

With the growing popularity of GIFs starting from 4chan to 9GAG to all major social networks (yes, I’m looking right at your Facebook and Twitter) and keyboards supporting it; there is no denying the fact that GIFs are here to stay. If you consider using GIFs in your posts (and have made your peace with the fact), GIPHY is a great place to find good GIF images!

Use Licenses Carefully – #CC0

They say that one can never be too careful. No, I am not asking you to start building your post-apocalyptic bunker. But when it comes to licensing images, it is best to go for CC0 ones which are free to download and use. If you have a good marketing budget, go ahead and purchase a Shutterstock subscription and download some brilliant royalty-free photographs for your blog and newsletters.

Conclusion

Wrapping up this post series, let us review what we have learnt so far:

  1. Use the correct image format
  2. Tips on uploading stock photos to blog posts
  3. Image optimization – size, dimensions, quality and saving for the web
  4. Image management when WordPress site URL changes
  5. Importing external images in WordPress
  6. Preventing image hotlinking in WordPress
  7. Common mistakes in WordPress image SEO
  8. Lazy loading images
  9. Image sitemaps in WordPress
  10. Responsive images in WordPress

What are your thoughts on this post series? Are they missing a vital tip? Let us know in the comments below.



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Real Sites Using The Total WordPress Theme


At WPExplorer we run a popular blog with many articles, tips, tutorials and guides for working with WordPress but we also develop free and premium WordPress themes. Our most popular and best theme of all time is the Total WordPress theme which at this point has already surpassed 24,500 sales while maintaining a 5 star rating and consistent updates.

The Total WordPress theme is very versatile and over the years we’ve seen the theme put to good use. Many of our customers have created really awesome websites using the theme and we felt like it was time to share some of those sites with you as inspiration and also so you can see what the theme is capable of. This are only a very few select sites from the many out there that we have bookmarked over time but there are MANY more amazing sites built using Total. If you have built-one please share in the comments below! If you have not yet used our theme be sure to check out our live demos and purchase the theme today.

Social Stream Apps

Social Stream Apps: Total WordPress Theme

Did you know that Total works amazingly with the popular Flow-Flow social stream WordPress plugin (seriously the best social feed plugin that money can buy)? These two work together so well that Looks Awesome (the creators of Flow-Flow) chose to use Total for the Flow-Flow live demo! How awesome is that?

University of Hawaii

University of Hawaii: Total WordPress Theme

The University of Hawaii was founded in 1907 and is composed of 10 campuses across the island state, with a focus on research and sustainability. Offering a variety of undergrad, graduate and doctorate degrees this picturesque college boasts small class sizes and notable alumni such as former President Obama’s parents.

Sprung

Sprung: Total WordPress Theme

While the website madebysprung.com is a fairly simply implementation of the Total theme we’ve included it at the top because it’s a company owned by Clay Johnston one of our best Total theme customers with tons and tons of purchases. Sprung has created many awesome websites using Total and we highly recommend their services.

Actian Data Management

Actian: Total WordPress Theme

Actian is hybrid data management and integration company offering data services to the financial, healthcare, SaaS/software and oil & gas industries. Big names such as Citi bank, Bloomberg, FICO, HSBC, Intuit and many more rely on Actian to manage and analyze their data.

Ultimate Member

Ultimate Member: Total WordPress Theme

Ultimate Member is an awesome WordPress plugin that will allow you to easily create an online community for free! The plugin is packed with amazing features and you can purchase extensions to make it even better!

WPPronto

WP Pronto: Total WordPress Theme

WPPronto is a hosting company that focuses on websites running WordPress. In 2009 they launched the original CDN network for WordPress along with high-performance hosting. Now, under the name of WPPronto they offer advanced WP hosting with integrated CloudFlare CDN and Railgun acceleration.

Brave Whale

brave-whale

Brave Whale is a web design and marketing agency. Not only have they used the Total theme on their own website but they also use it for many of their clients to create beautiful sites. We’ve had the great pleasure to work with the CEO of Brave Whale (Mark) on many occasions as he’s been a great help in reporting theme bugs and suggesting improvements and additions for Total theme updates. Additionally Brave Whale offers a unique “Total Theme Setup Service” if you are looking to use the theme but do not have the time or expertise to get started on your own.

kavyamanoharan.com

kavyamanoharan: Total WordPress Theme

A beautiful and elegant online portfolio. This site makes great use of the Total Overlay Header function to display media under the main header in a fashionable way.

Yoga Under Construction

Yoga Under Construction: Total WordPress Theme

Super clean and minimal implementation of the Total theme. Located in Groningen, Netherlands Yoga Under Construction offers yoga and pilates lessons.

Systems4Knees

Systems4Knees: Total WordPress Theme

At systems4knees.com you can purchase premium knee pain relief products. They are making use of WooCommerce to showcase their products and while the current version of Total they are using is slightly outdated the site still looks fantastic!

Beyond Expectations

Beyond Expectations: Total WordPress Theme

Beyond Expectations is an event and wedding planning company located in Surrey and the South East. They focus on creating elegant and stylish designs for celebrations, weddings and corporations.

SimplyConfirm

Simply Confirm: Total WordPress Theme

Simply Confirm is a unified business management and a secure communication application to help teams work better, together. The product includes software for Employee engagement (track employee engagement in realtime), smart task manager for managing tasks within your business, secure chat so you an instant message within your company, encrypted cloud storage for storing, managing and sharing files within your team – and much more!

Sleep Baby Love

Sleep Baby Love: Total WordPress Theme

Susie Parker the owner of Sleep Baby Love is certified through the “Family Sleep Institute” and is trained to help families struggling with various sleep issues of children between the ages of 0-5. She offers various consultation services and online courses to help you out.

Metropolitan Veterinary Associates

Metro Vets: Total WordPress Theme

Located in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania the Metropolitan Veterinary Associates offer emergency services year round for veterinary medicine, surgery and critical care for pets.

Jennifer Meyering

Jennifer Mayering: Total WordPress Theme

Jennifer runs an awesome blog where she shares recipes, DIYs, crafts, fitness guides and general lifestyle tips. She’s used the Total theme in a very unique way with plenty of custom masonry layouts, custom forms and a custom styled mega menu.

Golden Village Palms

Golden Village Palms: Total WordPress Theme

A nicely crafted website for the Golden Village Palms RV Resort in Hemet, California. Lounge in your own spacious, full-hookup site, dive into any of the 3 outdoor pools or take a swing on their tournament-level pickleball courts, check out the gym, pool table room, laundry room and more!

Webgrowth

Web Growth Agency: Total WordPress Theme

Webgrowth has it’s roots in inbound marketing and they have been assisting corporate clients since 2006. They offer courses on Digital Marketing which currently include a “Foundations” 8 week online course and an “Advanced” 1 year online course.

Green Standards

Green Standards: Total WordPress Theme

Green Standards helps company’s properly dispose of their excess office furniture and equipment responsibly in the US and Canada. They provide donation, resale and recycling strategies to maximize asset recovery, streamline community donation and they help eliminate waste.

Spoon & Stable

Spoon & Stable: Total WordPress Theme

Spoon and Stable is a restaurant that is located in what used to be a horse stable back in the 1900’s in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The food is focused around the seasonality of the Midwest and inspired by French Chef.

AliS Fashion Design

Alis Fashion: Total WordPress Theme

Alis Fashion has been featured in various wedding resources for brides. They specialize in various clothing needs for weddings as well as high end bridal alteration, tailoring for men’s clothing and more!

Masterstudio

Master Studio: Total WordPress Theme

Masterstudio offers web design services. Currently they have 2 different prices on their site ($170 for standard package and $240 for the full package). Their website looks awesome and so does their client work, so be sure to check them out.

Mobkii

mobkii: Total WordPress Theme

Mobkii is a web/graphic design and app agency located in México. Their website showcases a very clean and elegant implementation of the Total WordPress theme. If you are looking for some help with your website and your primary language is Spanish you should send them a message to see if they can be of assistance.

Moula

Moula: Total WordPress Theme

Moula is probably one of our favorite implementations of the Total theme due to it’s super clean design and the advanced customizations performed by the web developer. At Moula you can apply for a business loan of up to $250,000!

Denny Karchner

Karchner Western Art: Total WordPress Theme

Denny Karchner is an awesome artist and his website was crafted by his daughter from pointeradvertising.com with help of the Total theme. Not only is he a great artist but the developer Lindsay Michael from PointerAdvertising is one of our dearest customers! She has purchased many copies of the Total theme and created some amazing websites with it. If you are looking for some extra help with your site or would like a custom site built with Total be sure to check out her site.

We were also lucky enough to receive a print from Denny Karchner as a gift which has been framed and hanged in the office – thanks!

Elit Academy

Elit Academy: Total WordPress Theme

A very slick and modern corporate example of the Total WordPress theme in action, you don’t have to do much to make a unique site that matches your brand and gets your message across.

She Says She Does

She Says She Does: Total WordPress Theme

Get tips to help start your business, grow your social media, personal development tips and more! It’s time to start your entrepreneurial journey and She Says She Does will help get you going!

Nail Jewelry Bling

Nail Jewelry Bling: Total WordPress Theme

Nail Jewelry Bling is an e-commerce website where you can buy small batch nail polishes, stencils and other tools to create Instagram worthy manicures. This cute shop uses Total for their entire store, blog and custom orders. It’s a great example of how to get your business online.

Marley Coffee

Marley Coffee: Total WordPress Theme

Marley Coffee was founded by Rohan Marley (one of Bob Marley’s sons) when he purchased a 52-acre farm in Jamaica to grow sustainable, organic and delicious coffee. Total was a great fit since there built-in sliders, color options, typography customizations and WooCommerce support made it easy for Marley Coffee to have a beautiful website up and running in no time.

eStore Coaching

eStore Coaching: Total WordPress Theme

eStore Coaching is here to help you build your commerce business with the 3 pillars of commerce, a 30 day challenge and more. These experts chose Total because they know that at the heart of every successful online business is a quality website (and Total really is one of the best).

Laurel Whole Plant Organics

Laurel: Total WordPress Theme

Laurel uses whole plant organics to create quality skincare items for all ages. They use only the highest quality ingredients so of course they wanted the best WordPress theme to build their website. With Total they’ve been able to create a clean and minimal online shop that reinforces the purity and quality of their products.

Paradise Helicopters

Paradise Helicopters: Total WordPress Theme

Paradise Helicopters offers tours and one of a kind experiences in the Hawaiian Islands. Visitors can checkout live footage from previous helicopter tours and book packages all from a stunning custom site that was built on the Total WordPress theme. If the website layout doesn’t take your breath away the beautiful scenic videos will.

Good & Co

Good.co: Total WordPress Theme

Good.co is a network that connects professionals with workplaces. They have you answer a series of questions to find your core strengths then help to connect you to good companies for your qualification level. THey’ve done a great job of using Total to display and explain their app, as well as the team and the science behind it.

Pilates Fusion

Pilates Fusion: Total WordPress Theme

Pilates Fusion is a licensed training studio for Stott Pilates, which is a great way to improve your breathing, posture, digestion, bone density, endurance and overall well being. They’ve used Total to create a lovely site to showcase their classes, location, real client testimonials, a blog and even a members only area.

Frames Now

Frames Now: Total WordPress Theme

Frames Now is an excellent example of Total used to create an online store. They’ve used WooCommerce to sell their custom frames, and well as many other built-in Total options (like the portfolio, custom animations, social links, custom blog and more).

The Rolling Storm

Rolling Storm: Total WordPress Theme

The Rolling Storm is Jason’s personal blog highlighting a mix of beautiful photography, culture references, delicious food and interesting characters as he goes about life. He’s taken Total and created one of the coolest logs on the web (seriously – once you start reading you’re going town to want to hang out with him).

Lifetime Weight-loss: 60 Day Challenge

Lifetime 60 Day Challenge: Total WordPress Theme

Life Time is one of the best fitness centers in the US & Canada, boasting fantastic amenities such as spas, salons, tennis, olympic sized pools (plus water-park like outdoor facilities), nutritionists and awesome personal trainers. They also offer exclusive online weightless programs like the 60 Day Challenge, and they use the Total theme to share news, recipes and other resources with their members.

Barrio Restaurant & Tequila Bar

Barrio: Total WordPress Theme

Barrio is a latin style kitchen and tequila bar that uses Total to manage their online presence. They’ve added galleries, locations, menus, reservations, catering and social links all using the built-in Total page building modules.

Vista Outdoor

Vista Outdoor: Total WordPress Theme

Vista Outdoor is a publicly traded designer, manufacturer and marketer of top of the line outdoor sports and recreation products. Based in Farmington, Utah they work with well known brands such as Bushnell, Weaver, Champion, Camelbak and Redfield among many others. Vista chooses to share all of their news, SEC information, community outreach programs and more via their awesome custom website built with the Total WordPress theme.

Punch Pizza

Punch: Total WordPress Theme

Punch Pizza (home to some delicious looking authentic neapolitan pizza in the great state of Minnesota) trusts Total for their employment page. You can checkout their custom slider, open positions, career path diagram and more all built with Total (plus you can even apply for a job if you’re in the market).

Lifetime Training: Core 3

Lifetime Core3: Total WordPress Theme

Life Time (as we mentioned) is one of the premiere fitness centers in North America, and they chose Total for their Core 3 Training program. They used Total to create a stunning landing page for their training programs with lovely full width backgrounds, custom typography, custom blog and more.

Gavin Kaysen

Gavin Kaysen: Total WordPress Theme

Meet Gavin Kaysen – an award winning chef who has what it takes to run gourmet restaurants, head Team USA in the Bocuse d’Or international culinary competition and is a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation Best New Restaurant Award.

Kendall Commercial

Kendall Commercial: Total WordPress Theme

Kendall Commercial is a local commercial real estate company in the twin cities of of Minneapolis – Saint Paul. They’ve taken full advantage of Total’s easy builder modules, customizable footer, contact form support and portfolio custom post type.

Mazina

Mazina: Total WordPress Theme

Mazina is a photo album production company that uses innovative FlexBind tech to create better albums to showcase your photos. This family owned business chose Total to promote their products and grown their business online.

Muve

muve: Total WordPress Theme

Muve is a healthcare management company that focuses on the needs of joint replacement patients. They work with surgeons, medical facilities and patients to streamline and optimize the entire process. Since they’re so focused on offering the best to patients of course they’re using the powerful Total theme for their website.

Abdo Zoom

Abdozoom: Total WordPress Theme

Abdo Zoom is an online resource for children learning to reading the educators teaching them. This is a highly customized version of the Total WordPress theme and is an excellent example of what a talented developer can do with a bit of custom code (checkout those custom tabs folks).

And that is only a handful of the awesome websites using the Total WordPress theme! Did you create an awesome website with our theme that’s not on the list? Leave a link in the comments below. We’d love to see them!



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Top 20 WordPress Plugins for Business Websites 2017


Why do you need WordPress plugins if WordPress is as impressive a platform as they say? That is, indeed, a great question. Well, you don’t need all WordPress plugins, but just a select few to take your business website to the next level.

As a content management system, WordPress is quite impressive. Still, a lot of the action we love is found in the thousands of free and premium WordPress plugins out there. And there’s a horde out there man, of hungry developers making even more as we speak.

First, how about we drop a couple of fun facts just so know you’re in for a great ride. If that’s a yes I hear from the guys at the back, who I am to keep you waiting? Did you know?

  • Of the top 1 million sites, the number of business sites powered by WordPress is five times the number of WordPress-managed news site. Source: ManageWP.com.
  • There are countless WordPress plugins for security, SEO, membership, ecommerce, analytics, social sharing and so much more.
  • Today, you get a sizzling list of not 10, but 20 rock-star WordPress plugins to take your business site from good to great?! Bet you didn’t know that, but I digress.

Top 20 WordPress Plugins for Business Websites 2017

If it were possible, we could write this masterpiece together – you and me. This is one of those “open-ended” posts if you’ll allow me. Anything or any WordPress plugin you have in mind is suitable for the conversation here. But until we can write posts together, participate in the comment section as always. All views welcome ?

Yoast SEO [Free & Premium]

WordPress Plugins

You sort of should have guessed I will start with SEO. Boy, SEO or search engine optimization, is something else. It’s optimizing titles, placing focus keywords, writing Meta descriptions, cleaning up URLs, submitting sitemaps and blah blah.

Yoast SEO puts all that action just under your post editor. The plugin also measures the readability of your content. See, your content must be palatable to a fourth grader – which is good for user retention I believe. Say no to jargon, and strive to converse with your readers.

This is a must have WordPress plugin for every business site. And if you’re a WordPress professional, your cache of WordPress plugins is never complete without Yoast SEO. With features as fiery as the black dust of ancient China, Yoast SEO works as advertised.

Can you hear those ancient China flutes in your head? No? Let’s move on. Truly, all you need for your on-site SEO purposes is Yoast SEO. You can learn more about using the plugin in our detailed Yoast SEO guide.

Oh, lest I forget, it has a pro version that will save you 150 years. Of course, I’m kidding about the years but Yoast SEO is really good. Wait, does that sound so salesy? There are many other SEO WordPress plugins out there, so you’re essentially free to look. At the end of the day, Yoast SEO is the Chuck Norris of SEO plugins.

Btw, did you know Chuck Norris can swim up a waterfall? Haha.

Download Yoast SEO Free   Get Yoast SEO Premium

Symple Shortcodes [Free]

WordPress Plugins

If you’d like to add elements to your site, but don’t have the time to learn code, you will love Symple Shortcodes. Handcrafted right here, Symple Shortcodes places a lot of extensibility options in your hands. What does that mean?

You can affix a Google Map, for instance, anywhere on your website. Additionally, you’re free to place testimonials, dividers, columns and much more wherever.

You can build accordions, callouts, buttons, highlights and social icons with a couple of clicks. Personally, this WordPress plugin is on every website, and the shortcodes usually come in handy many times. It makes life a lot easier for you.

It’s a free WordPress plugin that’s clean and extremely easy to use. Best case scenario is you using it to super-charge your pages, posts and all other areas of your website. With so many features built within a seemingly lightweight design, I wage a pound of flesh you never will get bored.

What a wager?! I know, I know…we all get carried away at times more so if you’re the person who tried and loved the plugin at the center of this discussion. Symple Shortcodes is pure genius and I’m not in the least bit biased in any way.

Download Symple Shortcodes Free

W3 Total Cache [Free]

WordPress Plugins

If you cower every time you see or hear the word “cache”, welcome, you’re not alone. This caching business is sort of confusing for many people, which is why we’ve lined up an entire post about the subject. It goes live in a couple of days, so be on the lookout for that.

But what is W3 Total Cache and why is it important for your business site? Caching is technically storing bits of a website on a user’s device. It might also involve a content delivery network as well as converting heavy and dynamic PHP files into light HTML files.

Whether you know what that means or not, caching is solely meant to increase page load speeds. In this time and era, you cannot afford to have a website that takes an eternity to load. Users will simply bounce and you shall have a bad taste in the mouth. Google will also send you into oblivion.

Which is why you need W3 Total Cache, a caching plugin from the gods. Configure it right, and you immediately have a faster website. Configure it wrong, and you are on the dark side fighting demons and stuff. Anyhu, W3 Total Cache is a darling to work with, and one of the simplest WordPress plugins you’ll find.

The features on this thing will have you reeling back in amazement. To whet your appetite, you get nifty features such as AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) support, SSL support, compatibility with shared hosting, minification of resources, and so much more.

Download W3 Total Cache Free

Jetpack [Free & Premium]

WordPress Plugins

There’s a lot of vibe about this plugin within WordPress circles. There’s a faction of WordPressers who swear by Jetpack, and others who claim Jetpack is nothing but feature-bloat that’s bad for your speeds.

Then there is us. We feel Jetpack is a magnanimous plugin that deserves praise and more recognition. See, you don’t have to activate all the modules. Remember, each module you activate comes with its code – code that is added to your site whenever a page loads. Plus if you have great hosting, there’s nothing to worry about.

Isn’t it better, in the first place, to activate only the features you need? I have come across many WordPress plugins, but only a few can compete with Jetpack in terms of features and overall design concept. It’s a great tool to supercharge your business website in ways you never imagined.

Be it social sharing, publicizing posts, image carousels, related content widgets, site stats, brute force protection, comments and so much more, Jetpack has it all. It’s a nifty little plugin that delivers. The basic plan is free forever but there are plenty of premium options to match your needs.

Download Jetpack Free   Get Jetpack Premium

Akismet [Free & Premium]

WordPress Plugins

Jetpack’s cousin, Akismet is – by popular opinion – the ultimate spam assassin. But just because it’s popular opinion, does it mean it is true? Well, more than 3 million active installs at WordPress.org is a remarkable starting point, don’t you think?

Akismet captures spammy comments before they show up on your site and wreak havoc. You can moderate comments whenever you want. This WordPress plugin offers you the tools you need to deal with comment spam categorically.

These days, Akismet ships with self-hosted WordPress so all you have to do is activate an API key. The procedure is rather much straightforward you won’t run into any trouble. Best part is, this is all you need to do to capture and stop spammy comments on your site.

The basic plan is forever free (it’s suitable for small/personal blogs) but Automattic offers a couple of premium flavors at a monthly fee. Affordability depends on your business needs, personal preferences and, of course, budget.

Download Akismet Free   Get Akismet Premium

Business Directory Plugin [Free & Premium]

WordPress Plugins

Here’s the deal:

Directories fare well in the online space. Do you recall a couple of things we said about SEO a few seconds ago? Yeah, I bet we were talking about Yoast SEO. I’m interested in the phrase “search engine optimization” to be exact. Beginners have no idea what SEO is.

See, at the exact moment I wrote that, I immediately had an idea. Goes something like this: How nice would it be to have an SEO directory for interested SEO learners? People could list all kinds of SEO-related things. Perhaps it’d fetch millions of page views since SEO is one of the most sought after keywords.

Does that even make sense? All the same, if you’ve been looking for a directory plugin to revolutionize your listing business, the Business Directory Plugin is yours to keep. By all means it’s free and comes with an impressive list of features. In a single line, the features will drive you insane.

Download Business Directory Free   Get Business Directory Premium

Sucuri Security [Free & Premium]

WordPress Plugins

WordPress security is quite the slippery animal. Just when you think you have everything under control, a hacker usurps you to the point of madness. But you can’t cry foul, no you can’t. You just need a top-of-the-class WordPress security solution such as Sucuri.

The Sucuri Security plugin gives you total control of the security of your WordPress website. In other words it’s a security suite meant to reinforce your existing security efforts. Out of the box, Sucuri Security plugin ships with a couple of nifty features.

We are talking about file integrity monitoring, security activity logging, remote malware scanning, post-hack security actions, blacklist monitoring, effective security hardening and security notifications. This is one of the security WordPress plugins that actually works.

But that’s probably because the plugin was developed by the same guys who brought us one of the best web security solutions. Couple this plugin and the additional features in Sucuri Premium, such as the CloudProxy website firewall, and you have a formidable security solution so you can sleep better at night.

Download Sucuri Security Free   Get Sucuri Premium

Contact Form 7 [Free]

WordPress Plugins

Probably the best form builder I have come across, Contact Form 7 offers you a lot of power as far as building and integrating contact forms on your site goes. This plugin is a life-saver, since I can create contact forms and place them wherever on my site in record time.

Brought to you by Takayuki Miyoshi, this WordPress plugin is super-awesome at managing multiple contact forms as well. That, and you can easily customize your forms and the mail contents using simple markup. I said simple markup. Once you get the hang of things, Contact Form 7 will become one of your favorite WordPress plugins.

Other features include AJAX-powered submitting, Akismet spam filtering, CAPTCHA, shortcode functionality, and so much more. Plus a couple of settings to ensure you receive every submission from your site. Contact Form 7 is easy to install and use. It has over 3 million active installs as we speak.

Download Contact Form 7 Free

Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP) [Free]

WordPress Plugins

Making it easy for readers to find more of your awesome content can only mean great things for your WordPress site. For starters, the more content they find, the longer they stay on your website, which is great for user engagement, traffic and – eventually – conversions.

Yet Another Related Posts Plugin offers you a lot of features ensuring your content is easy to discover. To begin with, you have multiple display locations for your related posts. The default location is, of course, below your content but you’re free to add related posts anywhere else including inside widget areas and inside template files.

On top of that, this WordPress plugin ships with a one of a kind templating system that let’s you customize how readers see results. Further, you can display related posts in your posts, pages, custom post types and even feeds. And thanks to a versatile algorithm, the plugin gathers related content from across your site.

Download YARPP Free

MonsterInsights [Free & Premium]

WordPress Plugins

Keeping track of your traffic is a must-do for every business owner. With the information you gather from traffic analysis, you can adjust your site and marketing strategy for maximal impact. Moreover, traffic analysis forms a huge part of understanding your target audience.

MonsterInsights is a great traffic analytics tool. And their plugin is the most popular Google Analytics plugin for WordPress, what with over 1 million active installs! This plugin makes integrating Google Analytics with your WordPress site a breeze.

In minutes, you can tell how visitors find your website, so you can focus on the things that keep bringing them back. In a matter of clicks you can setup MonsterInsights and view your Google Analytics reports right within your WordPress dashboard. That’s sweet, right?

This tool is quite beginner-friendly thanks to excellent tracking, settings and workflows that have earned MonsterInsights a name across the globe. Other notable features include ecommerce analysis, ad tracking, real time stats, file download tracking, link tracking, and custom dimensions tracking among others.

Download MonsterInsights Free   Get MonsterInsights Premium


Don’t leave yet…

This marks the end of the first 10 WordPress plugins for your business website. Don’t leave yet, we have more WordPress plugins in store for you. Refill your mug, stretch your legs or do whatever; the second part is even more promising.

Ready? Great, let’s roll.


WP Smush [Free & Premium]

WordPress Plugins

Just to build momentum, let’s begin with a one-of-a-kind WordPress plugin that promises to boost the speed of your business site ten times. Ladies and gentlemen, say a big hello to Smush by the great team at WPMU Dev.

Did you know large image files could be the reason why your site takes forever to load? Of all things slowing down your website, images are the most notorious. It’s actually sad since most beginners don’t understand image file size has a massive correlation with website speeds.

The bigger the image, the longer it takes to load on your website. Enters Smush and you can say bye to the days of slow websites and high bounce rates. Thanks to this plugin, you can resize, compress and optimize all of your images with a single click.

Smush scans new and existing images on your website using WPMU super-servers, meaning the load is taken off your server. On top of that, this plugin cuts out all the unnecessary data, compresses and scales your images before saving them to the media library.

Further, Smush optimizes all images across your site. This includes images added by themes and plugins among others. This it does even if you have a multisite WordPress installation. Truly, there’s just so much to write about this plugin we would need a full review to cover everything.

Download Smush Free   Get WP Smush Premium

Gallery by Envira [Free & Premium]

WordPress Plugins

While you don’t need WordPress plugins to whip up image galleries in WordPress, a gallery plugin such as Envira Gallery supercharges your galleries, enabling you to deliver a lot more with your images.

In an earlier post, we outlined how to create amazing WordPress galleries, but we only focused on the inbuilt gallery feature that creates basic galleries. If you need to go the extra mile and wow readers with your images, you need Gallery by Envira. Why? You ask.

For starters, this plugin is brought to you by Syed Balkhi, he who of WPBeginner. A renowned name in WordPress circles, Syed is popular for many top-range products including MonsterInsights among others.

In terms of features, Gallery by Envira is 100% responsive and ships with a drag-and-drop gallery builder that’s a bliss to work with, social media integrations, WooCommerce support, video galleries, watermarking, image proofing and amazing pre-made templates just to mention a few.

Download Gallery by Envira   Get Gallery by Envira Premium

WooCommerce [Free]

WordPress Plugins

If you run an ecommerce site powered by WordPress, you probably use WooCommerce. That, or perhaps you’ve found a way to link your online store to Shopify. All in all, WooCommerce gives the competition a good run for their money.

Within five minutes, you could have a fully-fledged ecommerce site up and running. Yep, WooCommerce is that darn good. And you can sell whatever you desire, process orders and track inventory like a boss.

WooCommerce, truly, is WordPress ecommerce in a box. Notable features include multiple payment gateways, the free Storefront theme, an easy to use dashboard, plenty of options to manage your online store and a slew of free and premium addons that will blow your mind.

Brought to you by Automattic (yes, the company behind WordPress.com, Akismet, Jetpack etc), with over 3 million active installs and a superb rating of 4.5/5.0, WooCommerce is the only ecommerce plugin you will ever need.

Take note, though, that premium addons can cost a fortune so only go with the features you need. Still, you have to test drive WooCommerce buddy.

Since its creation WooCommerce has been our go to app for ecommerce. We find certain comfort in knowing our competitors use other “carts”. The extensions and add-ons are a bit confusing and can be expensive. – Brent

Download WooCommerce Free

Beaver Builder [Free & Premium]

WordPress Plugins

The design of your business website has a profound impact on your conversions and sales. A short while ago, I changed a couple of design elements on my portfolio website and believe you me, inquiries tripled immediately I was shocked. Shocked I had been leaving a lot of money on the table.

Perhaps your design is stealing from you. So what design changes did yours truly make? Well, I eliminated a heavy slider that was slowing my site and used a couple of the features found in the Symple Shortcodes plugin we mentioned earlier. I also inserted some PHP code within my template files for something else.

What the hell does this have to do with you or even Beaver Builder?

Well, I was able to make the changes to the PHP code since I know what an opening tag is. Can we say the same about you? What to do if you need to change up the design of your site without editing code or switching your WordPress theme?

You choose Beaver Builder, a powerful drag and drop page builder that helps you to create layouts out of this world. Yes, it’s compatible with whatever theme you have, plus you can use the pre-made templates that save you a lot of time.

Download Beaver Builder Free   Get Beaver Builder Premium

CSS Hero [Premium]

WordPress Plugins

Seeing as we just touched on design, let’s talk about CSS Hero, a premium WordPress plugin that will save you a lot of time as far as customizing your WordPress theme goes. Listen: WordPress themes depend on CSS for the visual appearance of your website….but you don’t know CSS hombre.

If you’d like to change the size of text, colors, margins and that kind of thing, you will need to learn CSS, which we must admit is time-consuming for the average business owner. What to do instead? To change how your business site looks without writing a line of code, you need to make CSS Hero your friend.

This WordPress plugin ships with awesome features such as 900+ Google fonts, a top-notch color manager, special effects, ready-made styles and theme skins among others. You can even export your styles to another platform because these guys are awesome ?

If you’ve ever been one of those folks that worries that you don’t know enough CSS to make a site look like you want it to, you can stop stressing right about now. –  Chris Lema

Get CSS Hero

Easy Social Share Buttons [Premium]

WordPress Plugins

One among the bestselling social WordPress plugins, Easy Social Share Buttons is more than just a social sharing plugin. It’s meant to take your outreach mission to a whole new level what with features from here to Timbuktu.

Easy Social Share Buttons WordPress plugins is best known for awesome features such as support for 50+ social networks, beautiful templates, numerous button and icon animations, social counters, 27+ display positions, support for WhatsApp + other mobile apps, media sharing, and after-share actions among others.

On top of that (and a million and one other amazing features), Easy Social Share Buttons is mobile-friendly and comes with superior support. Then it comes with alluring optin forms, you can grow both your social media following and mailing list with a single plugin. Killing two birdies with the same stone kind of thing.

You have to see the extensive list of features for yourself. If you’re anything like many of us here, this plugin will surely sweep you off your feet. At the time of writing, this plugin powers over 80k websites, has an impressive rating of 4.66/5.00 and costs just $19 bucks.

Get Easy Social Shares

WP-Members [Free]

WordPress Plugins

Wherever you go online, you’re bound to find at least one website using the membership model. This just means the content you need is locked behind a registration form or a pay wall. But how do business owners manage to build membership sites on WordPress?

Building a bespoke membership site from scratch is insanely costly and time-consuming, more so when there are countless membership WordPress plugins that can do all the dirty work at a fraction of the cost. You get to save a lot of time as well.

One such plugin is WP-Members by Chad Butler, the first-ever membership plugin for WordPress. Setting up this plugin is quite easy yet it’s powerful and versatile. Features include the ability to block access to posts and pages, sidebar login widget, shortcodes, custom registration and user profile fields, user registration notifications, and hundreds of extensibility options.

If you’re looking to create or rejuvenate a membership site, WP-Members is your plugin of choice.

Download WP-Members Free

Registration Magic [Free & Premium]

RegistrationMagic Custom Registration Forms — WordPress Plugins

Seeing as we are talking about membership sites, let’s look at Registration Magic, a special kind of plugin that helps you to take user registration on your site to a whole new level. A top-performer among registration WordPress plugins, this bad boy contributes directly to your sales, and you can take that to the bank.

With more features than you will ever need, Registration Magic offers you complete control over all manner of registrations. For starters, you can create as many forms as you desire for various scenarios. Each form can have its own pre-defined fields, which means the sky is the limit as far as building forms goes.

You can add payment gateways to your forms with a single click and track all form submissions and activities via an intuitive dashboard. Other features include a fully-fledged form manager, file attachments, multiple styles, Google reCAPTCHA, email notifications and multiple 3rd party integrations among others.

Registration Magic brings a lot to the table as a custom user registration plugin. According to the authors, this plugin “…is the missing user registration system for WordPress and a powerful addition to any WordPress admin’s arsenal.”

Users too are saying great things about Registration Magic. Here’s one among the many:

I am really a novice website builder. I have built 3 simple sites previously, but am now engaged in building a very complex site for one of my companies. I needed a powerful tool for various levels of members, some free, some paid, some simply newsletter subscribers, and was afraid I was getting in over my head UNTIL I discovered REGISTRATION MAGIC!! It really is magic. Easy to use, easy to understand. No programming skills required. Just input what you want, and it does it all for you! Exactly what I needed, does more than I ever dreamed! I’m thrilled! – webmasterwrp

The free version has about 80 amazing features, but there’s a premium version with over 120 features, so yay!

Download Registration Magic Free   Get Registration Magic Premium

blogVault Backup (Free & Premium)

Blogvault - Complete WordPress Backup Service

I have tried a couple of backup services in my time, and blogVault steals the day simply because it’s incredibly easy to setup and use. In no time, you will be creating full off-site backups that come in handy should something break.

And stuff breaks all the time online, whether it’s your fault or not. With daily incremental backups, you sleep soundly knowing your content, hence business, is safe. For a tiny price of $9 bucks a month, blogVault beats many other backup solutions ten to two like Bayern vs Arsenal.

Features available include daily backups of WordPress files and databases, backup to Dropbox, 30 day backup history, one-click backup restore, a free plan with weekly backups, seamless site migration, managed off-site backups, top-notch security and staging areas among others.

IMHO, this is the ideal backup solution if you have a huge website spanning 10’s of GBs. One user reports:

I’ve tried several other free plugins but they were either too fiddly to use or were incredibly slow to produce a backup. I installed blogVault today and it had produced a backup of my whole site – 4.5GB – in around 45 minutes. It will update the backup daily and offers a whole range of other services, including migrating to another server. At $9 / month I think this is well worth the peace of mind. My website is vital to my business. – trevormwilson

Download blogVault Free   Get blogVault

Ninja Popups for WordPress [Premium]

Ninja Popups

Internet marketing gurus say the money is in the list, so it is a shame we haven’t covered a single WordPress plugin that makes subscribing users 700% easier. Well guys, we point you to Ninja Popups for WordPress, the bestselling popup plugin with over 26k sales at the time of writing.

What sets apart Ninja Popups from similar WordPress plugins? Glad you asked. For a tiny price of just $25 bucks, you get a drag-and-drop popup builder, 65+ beautiful popups, social locker for restricted content, integration with major social networks and 30+ email marketing platforms, exit intent and so much more.

Ninja Popups for WordPress is fully responsive meaning your optin forms will look amazing and work exceptionally well across multiple devices. This plugin is by arscode, an elite author at CodeCanyon, and has an impressive buyer rating of 4.41/5.00. Without a doubt, this is the only plugin you’ll ever need for all of your popup needs.

Get Ninja Popups for WordPress

Final Remarks

WordPress plugins can help you to supercharge your business website without learning code or breaking the bank. By all means, just pick the WordPress plugins you need for your business and keep an eye out for any premium addons that could cost a fortune.

The WordPress plugins on this list are a must have for beginners as well as established WordPress users. This, however, doesn’t mean you have to install all of them on your WordPress site. Nah, just pick a couple and move on from there.

Which are your favorite WordPress plugins?



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