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How to Make a Custom WordPress Login Page (and Why You Should)


Chances are, you’ve put a lot of work into building your WordPress site and making it look good on the front end. However, you may be ignoring one crucial aspect: your login page.

There are plenty of reasons to customize your login form, such as to improve security, increase brand awareness, and enhance the user experience. Any one of those reasons should be enough to convince you to part from the default WordPress login screen. This simple change is a surprisingly excellent way to improve your site.

In this post, we’ll discuss the benefits of creating a WordPress custom login form. Then we’ll introduce some tools that can help you accomplish this task easily, including some of the best custom login page plugins you can choose from. Let’s get started!

Why a Custom WordPress Login Form Is Beneficial to Your Site

As a WordPress website owner, you are almost certainly familiar with the default WordPress login page. It’s perfectly functional, but bare bones in appearance. It also doesn’t offer any particular security features to keep hackers and other undesirables out of your admin area. For these reasons, your login form deserves as much attention as any other area of your site.

Here are just some of the benefits of customizing your WordPress login form:

  • Better Security. You can protect your login page to redirecting your login form to a unique URL, which makes it more difficult for hackers to find your login page. Plus, you can set a limit on the number of times a person can log in, or even add multi-factor authentication.
  • Branding Consistency. Extending your branding to your login form allows you to maintain consistency with the rest of your site, so your users and team members will have a cohesive experience. Plus if you add social logins to WordPress it’s even easier for your readers or members to login and share your content.
  • Enhanced Navigation. You can use your login form to provide additional navigation for your end users. You can link to social media profiles, or even display special offers directly on the login screen.
  • Improved User Experience. You can customize your login form to take end users to any page you choose, such as a customized profile page or a specialized promotion, or you can create custom messages.

These are just some of the benefits you can reap with a custom login form. The first is the most important, however. Security should always be foremost in your mind when deciding on any change to your site, and in this case you can greatly enhance it with just a few simple tweaks.

5 Helpful Tools for Creating a Custom WordPress Login Form

By now, you understand the reasons you might want to modify your WordPress login form. Fortunately, there are plenty of plugins that can help you out (plus, many can be used to customize other WordPress forms as well). The following five options are some of the best available, with excellent feature sets and reputations for reliability.

1. ProfilePress

The ProfilePress plugin.

ProfilePress is a handy plugin that enables you to customize your WordPress custom login form, as well as your registration and password reset pages. You can also use it to build front-end user profiles unique to each user. What’s more, ProfilePress features a shortcode builder that lets you add shortcodes to any form on your site. This makes it easy to add reCAPTCHA codes, submit buttons, checkboxes, and more.

Key Features:

  • Enables you to customize your login forms, registration forms, and password reset forms.
  • Provides live previews to make the design process easier.
  • Lets you redirect logins, registrations, and password resets to custom pages.
  • Offers Multisite Integration, which enables users to create new sites via a front-end registration form.
  • Makes it possible for users to upload avatars, and provides moderation and social media-related features (premium version).

Price: The base plugin is offered for free on the WordPress.org Plugin Directory, although you can also purchase premium plans that provide additional features and functionality.

2. Customize WordPress Login Page

The Customize WordPress Login Page plugin.

The Customize WordPress Login Page plugin makes it simple to personalize your login form so that it looks just right. It provides you with the ability to modify colors, add a background image, and even create a background slideshow. In addition to its customization features, this plugin is responsive for mobile sites and integrated with Google Fonts.

Key Features:

  • Enables you to redirect users to a custom login form URL.
  • Lets you personalize your login form with colors and background media.
  • Includes social media connectivity features.

Price: Free.

3. LoginPress

The LoginPress plugin.

LoginPress makes the process of customizing your WordPress login form simple and intuitive. It enables you to edit your login page right from your WordPress dashboard, and add customized fields and messages for users. Plus, there are plenty of design-oriented features that help you match the branding and style of the rest of your site.

Key Features:

  • Lets you add custom logos and backgrounds to your login form.
  • Enables you to modify the colors of buttons and other elements.
  • Provides the option to create custom error and welcome messages.

Price: The base plugin is free, while there is a premium version with additional customization features available for $29.

4. White Label Branding for WordPress

The While Label Branding for WordPress plugin.

This premium plugin enables you to customize not just your login form, but your entire WordPress admin area. You can also use White Label Branding for WordPress to control what any user sees based on their assigned role, such as editor or author, and to hide certain areas if necessary. This creates a valuable extra layer of security for your site.

Key Features:

  • Enables you to completely customize your WordPress admin area based on user roles.
  • Lets you apply customization to your login form and back end, including logos, favicons, headers, and footers.
  • Offers a visual CSS editor.

Price: This is a premium plugin, available from CodeCanyon for $29.

5. Tailored Login

The Tailored Login plugin.

The Tailored Login plugin features a built-in style manager for your login form, and provides a wide range of customization options. It lets you add optional widgets, plus you can personalize the backgrounds, headers, buttons, and more for your login area. The plugin is part of an iThemes membership, which includes premium support and a community forum.

Key Features:

  • Provides a style manager that enables you to customize colors, fonts and widget areas.
  • Offers customizable login forms, with editable headers, footers, buttons, and links.
  • Lets you add up to two widget areas to the your login page.

Price: This plugin is available as part of iTheme’s Plugin Suite, for $247. This is a pricey option, but a potential bargain if you already have the package or are interested in some of the other plugins that are included.

Conclusion

When it comes to your WordPress site, you want to pay as much attention to tweaking your admin area as you do with the front end. Customizing your login form helps you go the extra mile with your branding, and can provide increased security and an enhanced user experience.

In this article, we’ve introduced five plugins that can help you create a WordPress custom login form to match your site:

  1. ProfilePress: Enables you to customize multiple forms on your site, offers a shortcode builder, and contains a handy Multisite Integration tool.
  2. Customize WordPress Login Page: Offers plenty of customization options for your login form, and lets you add background media.
  3. LoginPress: Simplifies the login form creation process, and helps you match the style of your site.
  4. White Label Branding for WordPress: Lets you customize your entire admin area, and control access based on user roles.
  5. Tailored Login: Offers a built-in style manager to help you tweak your login form’s background, headers, buttons, and more.

Are there any other custom login form plugins that you think are worth checking out? Let us know about them in the comments section below!



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bbPress Forums for WordPress: A Quick Guide


Discussion forums have been around for almost as long as the internet itself. Even before the World Wide Web became popular, people were sharing information and discussing topics using terminal server bulletin board systems. In fact, my very first experiences with the Internet back in 1998 revolved around the chat rooms and discussion forums on AOL (boy do I look back nostalgically at those halcyon days).

The modern discussion forum retains the core idea of what is now a very well-established concept — sharing information and discussing topics — but has evolved into a lightweight plugin for WordPress that can be installed in a matter of minutes.

I am talking about bbPress – the WordPress forum software built by the very guys who created WordPress itself. In this post I am going to explain exactly what bbPress is, why you may need it, and also show you how to install it.

Why You Need bbPress

Total WordPress Theme & bbPress

The feature-set of bbPress is nowhere near as comprehensive as dedicated forum software such as phpBB or vBulletin, so why use it? There are a few compelling reasons why.

  1. It’s lightweight. Forum software is traditionally bloated, full of security holes, and a real drain on your server. The latest version of bbPress (v2.5.13) is simple to use and open source – so you can tweak the plugin as necessary.
  2. It’s fully integrated with WordPress. This benefit goes beyond the ease of installation. bbPress takes advantage of the WordPress user management system, and has access to the vast WordPress plugin repository, where you’ll find a decent number of specific bbPress compatible plugins. One of these is BuddyPress, a template for a WordPress-based social network that actually uses bbPress to power its forums.
  3. Customization is easy. bbPress has a unique advantage over other forum software when it comes to customizing the styling for your forum. Since it’s built for WordPress there are many amazing themes (like the Total WordPress Theme) designed specifically for bbPress so changing the look for your forum is as easy as changing your theme.

If you want to start a traditional bulletin board or new social network then bbPress probably isn’t for you (although do check out BuddyPress as a basis for the latter!)

However, if you want to add a community element to an existing blog or a support area for your clients, you’ll be hard-pressed to find something better suited than bbPress.

What Is bbPress?

Any site owner should understand what’s going on within their plugins. bbPress is simply three custom post types, some layout templates, a system of shortcodes, a couple of widgets, and CSS code. That’s why it’s called lightweight!

Custom post types

The three custom post types are:

  1. Forums: which holds each discussion forum you create, allowing a hierarchy of forums to be created
  2. Topics: which holds each discussion thread (the title and opening post)
  3. Replies: which holds each individual reply to a topic

Layouts

The standard layout templates are suitable for most instances. For example, the topics layout will display a list of topics with the following information:

  • Topic name
  • Who started the topic and in which forum they started it
  • The number of people engaged in conversation (voices)
  • The number of replies to the topic
  • (And possibly) How long ago the last reply was and who made it

bbPress Topics Page

The various elements can be styled with CSS to better fit your blog, but if you want to make substantial changes to the structure, you’ll need to be comfortable with PHP or purchase a theme like Total that offers custom styling options built-in.

Shortcodes and Widgets

bbPress makes it simple to display the various elements of the forum wherever you want to through a series of shortcodes and widgets. This is actually an incredibly powerful feature, allowing you to consider usability and responsive design.

For example, you can create a page listing the latest topics with a selection of the most popular posts highlighted in your sidebar by using just one short code and one widget. If you decide you prefer a more traditional forum layout listing the categories, you can switch things around in minutes.

To give you a feel for the flexibility, check out the codex to view all 19 bbPress shortcodes.

The included widgets are:

  • Forums list
  • Recent replies
  • Recent topics
  • Topic views list
  • Search
  • Login widget
  • Statistics

The login widget is especially useful, displaying a login form to visitors, and a profile link to logged-in users.

Installation

If you decide to give bbPress a go, installation couldn’t be simpler.

Install bbPress via the WordPress Directory

Just search for bbPress in the WordPress plugin directory, hit install, and you’re done (or, if you want to use the plugin as a basis for development, or just to take a closer look, you can download a copy from the WordPress plugin repository).

bbPress WordPress Forums

Install bbPress via a WordPress Theme

Your other option is to install the plugin via your WordPress theme (if it offers the option). For example, the Total WordPress theme is not only fully compatible with bbPress but it includes a ready to go, easy import bbPress demo.

Install Total bbPress Demo

Simply head over to Themeforest and buy Total (one of the highest rated and popular drag & drop WordPress themes on the web), install & activate it, then navigate to Theme Panel > Demo Importer (note: this is unique to Total, most themes will not include this awesome and easy to use feature).

From here search for “bbpress” then click on the demo to begin.

Install bbPress Plugin

Once you click Total will prompt you to install any required plugins, which in this case includes bbPress. Simply click on each plugin to install and activate.

Import Total bbPress Content

With that done Total offers you the option to specify which parts of the demo you’d like to import. For the Total bbPress demo be sure all boxes for XML sample data, images, theme customizer settings and widgets are set to have your website looking identical to the live demo.

Total bbPress Demo Import Complete

When the import is complete you should see a message like the one above. This means your sample content and bbPress are ready to go!

Basic bbPress Setup

Once bbPress is installed and active, you’ll notice the three new custom post types in the admin menu, and a bbPress page in the Settings menu.

Before you dive in and create the forum of your dreams, spend some time in the settings menu. Navigate to Settings > Forums.

bbPress Spam Settings

In particular, you’ll want to tweak the spam settings, including:

  • Throttle Time: the minimum number of seconds allowed between new replies from the same user
  • Allow Anonymous Posting: Disable this to require a user to register for an account to post a topic or a reply

Once you’ve done this, it’s good to create a number of sample forums, topics, and replies (preferably from several different user accounts) before you start to tweak the design. With dummy data you’ll be more likely to spot things that need fixing with CSS, particularly on mobile devices. Lucky for you, if you’ve chosen to use the Total theme sample demo you’re all set to move on to customizations!

Customizing bbPress

To customize bbPress you really need to be a developer… or use one of the following cheater methods to customize your forum styling without knowing how to code.

Option 1: Use Your Theme Settings

First off, if you did decide to use a theme that offers added bbPress options you should look there first. Navigate to Appearance > Customize to edit options.

bbPress Live Customizer Options

Specifically under the bbPress section (like the one in Total) to select the default page layout for forums, topics and user pages. After that utilize settings under Typography for custom fonts and under General Theme Options for accent colors, Page Header Title selections, Forms styling, Links & Buttons customizations and more to make the design match your branding.

Option 2: Use a Live CSS Editor Plugin

If by chance your theme doesn’t offer any styling options, or simply not the ones you’re looking for you might want to consider a live CSS editor plugin. These plugins allow you to point, click and edit elements of your website using easy styling options (no code required). Here are our two favorites:

  • Yellow Pencil: This plugin is one of our favorites. Simply install and click “Let’s Start” to begin customizing your website! Want to learn more? Checkout our full Yellow Pencil user guide to see how the plugin works and what features are included.
  • CSShero: Similar to the previous plugin, CSShero offers a super easy to use point & click interface to edit styles, colors, fonts, spacing and more. Take a look at how this plugin works in our CSShero guide for customizing WordPress.

Recommended bbPress Add-on Plugins

As mentioned earlier, bbPress is easy to extend through a large number of plugins. Here are a handful we think you might like to consider to add more features and options to your forums.

Ultimate Member bbPress Addition

Add options for easy user signup, advanced profiles and even memberships with the Ultimate Member plugin. This extensible option fully integrates with bbPress so you can offer your forum members more to enjoy.

More about Ultimate Member →

bbp Style Pack

Want to add a few basic styling options for your bbPress forum? Give bbp Style Pack a try. This free plugin adds options to customize styling, links, display features and more.

More about bbp Style Pack →

bbPress Notify (No Spam)

This plugin sends an email notification to users when new topics and/or replies are posted. It’s useful if you’re operating a support forum and need a particular person to respond to questions in a particular forum, for example.

More About bbPress Notify →

GD bbPress Tools

One of the more comprehensive bbPress plugins available, this adds BBCode support, user signatures, additional custom views, in-reply quotes, plus some additional admin features.

More about GC bbPress Tools →

The Best Forum Solution?

It’s lightweight, quick, and easy to install, but is bbPress the best forum solution for your WordPress blog? There’s only one way to find out — grab a copy, install it on your site and start experimenting!

Now it’s time to get your feedback. Are you a bbPress user? Do you consider bbPress to be the best forum solution for WordPress users, or do you prefer an alternative solution? What’s your experience of adding a community element to your blog?

Please give us your answers to the above questions in the comments sections below. Alternatively, if you have any other comments or questions, please fire away!



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How to Grow Your Online Community with WordPress


As a flexible content management system that’s here to stay, WordPress is an excellent place to set up your online community. However, you may only be accustomed to using the platform for blogging, and not sure how to best adapt it for a community website.

Fortunately, you can create just about any type of online community you can imagine, thanks to the variety of relevant plugins that seamlessly integrate with WordPress. There are tools that will help you build fan sites, support networks, interest-based groups, and more.

In this post, we’ll talk about why you might want to create an online community in the first place. Then we’ll highlight a few of the best plugins for doing so, and introduce their key features. Let’s get started!

Why to Create an Online Community

Envato Forum

A forum is a great example of a community site that enables users to come together and discuss a niche topic.

An online community – such as a forum, social media network, web page, or membership site – is a platform where like-minded individuals can join together. These communities can be intended for support, for networking, or even just for fun.

Creating your own community brings a number of benefits, whether you’re a business owner, a blogger, or just someone looking for a place to hang out online. For example:

  • If you’re a business owner, it can help you to stand out among your competitors and more deeply engage your target audience.
  • If you’re a blogger or influencer, you have the ability to reach out to a specific, niche audience and build a dedicated readership.
  • No matter what your community site’s purpose is, you can control its content and design, unlike on a restrictive platform such as Facebook.

Of course, every community site has its own unique purpose and goals. Fortunately, WordPress makes it possible to design yours to meet your community’s needs with a number of useful plugins.

How to Expand Your Online Community

We’ve chosen the five tools below carefully, focusing on ratings, reviews, and key features. While it’s not an all-inclusive list, we believe these are the best choices to get you started on the right foot, or help you expand your existing site. Let’s jump in!

1. BuddyPress

BuddyPress plugin

BuddyPress enables you to create a social media network for your colleagues, special interest group, family, or anyone else. It offers a simple but customizable platform for building and engaging with your community.

With BuddyPress, the members of your network can build personal profiles, connect with other users, and even create and interact within their own groups. You get all the benefits of your own, exclusive social media platform, without any coding required.

The best thing about BuddyPress is that it’s free, and there are a lot of other plugins that expand its functionality. For example, User Blog gives network members the ability to contribute blog posts, while Member Types gives you control over different membership groups and their abilities.

2. User Submitted Posts

User Submitted Posts plugin

User Submitted Posts enables you to turn your WordPress site into a multi-author blog. This is similar to the BuddyPress-compatible plugin User Blog, but with more functionality.

As a standalone plugin, User Submitted Posts is a great option for sites with a content focus. Whether you’re running a hobby group, industry community, or special interest website, your users can become part of the community by offering their own insight and experience. Of course, this plugin enables you to fully control the posts that are approved. To enable those posts, you simply need to copy and paste a shortcode onto a page, post, or widget.

The plugin is free, and includes a basic submission form and limited support. However, you can upgrade for as little as $40 and receive a lifetime of updates, full support, and additional submission form customization options.

3. Facebook Page Plugin

Facebook Page Plugin

Facebook Page Plugin is a lightweight feed plugin that enables you to bring your active Facebook community – and all its followers – onto your WordPress site.

With the addition of a shortcode on a page, post, or widget, you can add your Facebook feed directly to your WordPress community website. Even better, users can interact with your feed – liking, sharing, and commenting – all without leaving your website!

This plugin’s simplicity and clean design make it a great addition to any site. Plus, its easy-to-use dashboard makes customization simple. As with the other plugins mentioned on our list, Facebook Page Plugin is absolutely free to use.

4. Simple Membership

Simple Membership plugin

Simple Membership is a website membership plugin that’s lightweight, user friendly, and customizable. With this plugin installed, you can easily create a membership site for your online community.

Whether you want to build a more private site – only allowing approved members to participate – or offer varying permissions to different membership levels, this plugin will do the job. Simple Membership enables you to create unlimited subscription levels, both free and paid. With paid subscriptions, you have the additional benefit of accepting secure payments through PayPal.

This plugin is free and, as it focuses on simplicity, no additional plugins or add-ons are offered. It is fully functional on its own, and will get you up and running in no time.

5. bbPress

bbPress plugin

bbPress is a forum plugin that enables you to create a full-featured forum on your WordPress website, and it’s a great way to get the conversation started on your blog. Since forums are a simple way to connect with like-minded individuals, this is a great plugin choice if you want to get your online community started quickly.

What’s more, this plugin is well-designed for both for beginners and experienced forum moderators. With bbPress, you can set up and moderate your forums easily. In addition, you can divide your site into sections, and even allow user-created content.

As open source software, bbPress is free to download and use. Also, there are many bbPress-compatible plugins – such as Private Replies and Notify (No Spam) – that extend the tool’s functionality and improve its user experience.

Conclusion

Whether you want to offer support, build a fanbase, or provide a place for like-minded individuals to hang out, WordPress is a great platform for creating your online community. In fact, there are dozens of plugins available for that very purpose.

In this post, we’ve introduced you to five of our recommended community-building plugins. To recap, they include:

  1. BuddyPress: A social network plugin that helps you create your own WordPress-integrated social platform.
  2. User Submitted Posts: A community-building plugin that provides users with the ability to submit their own posts.
  3. Facebook Page Plugin: An advanced Facebook feed plugin that enables users to interact with your integrated Facebook page on your website.
  4. Simple Membership: A membership site plugin that enables you to create unlimited membership levels, free or paid.
  5. bbPress: A fully-functional plugin you can use to create your own community forum.

Which of these community-building plugins interests you most, and why? Let us know in the comments section below!



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10 Expert Practices for Multilingual WordPress Websites – WPExplorer


A multilingual website offers content, products and/or services for their readers in multiple languages. Often when you start an online business it is limited to a specific community or region, but by the time you plan to expand you should consider to catering to a larger demographic.

For example, a website in western or central Canada is initially developed for English speakers only. Being a small business, it has an English language version, but as soon as it reaches out to the french community it becomes mandatory to create a parallel website in the French language. In the same manner, when a blogger starts writing for a community or cause in one language, but want to spread his words to other regions and ethnicities, they may need to turn their blog into a multilingual website.

If you are planning to expand your online shop or business website to other territories, do not forget to create a blog section before adding translated versions. Blog for PrestaShop is one of the interactive tools to incorporate a publishing corner on your eCommerce website, whereas you can also seek the assistance of a developer to write code for your online store. This tool is specifically for the online shops powered by PrestaShop, whereas you can find similar modules for Magento or even build an online store with WooCommerce.

Standalone eCommerce platforms like Magento and PrestaShop have built in features and support to setup a multilingual website, whereas with WordPress it’s often best to install an additional plugin for it. Following are some of the expert practices and a few helpful plugins you should keep in mind while creating international language versions of your website.

1. Language Switching with Flawless Translation

Weglot Multilingual WordPress Plugin

A multilingual WordPress website expects to serve people from varying linguistic backgrounds. For this purpose, most of the webmasters create multiple copies of the same website in different languages and enable switching between them. Auto-switching language according to the users’ location is one of the reliable solutions, whereas leaving it to the discretion of users is also a worth considering option. This auto or manual language switching allows users to browse posts or products in their native language.

There are tools and browsers that offer an auto translation of a web page which is discouraged by the experts. Because these applications are unable to interpret the message a website needs to convey. Word by word translation from one language to another can never replicate the exact message that’s why translation by professionals is a recommended practice.

However, there are a few premium plugins that make the translation process much easier. Our #1 pick is Weglot, since it offers a custom translation API as well as the option to upgrade to a professional translation by a recommended provider. We also love WPML, which helps to streamline the process of creating and managing multiple translations for your website.

2. Bridge Cultural Differences

In addition to the language your target audience uses, there is a need to understand their cultural differences as well while configuring a multilingual WordPress site. It takes into account the use of language, tone, and concepts that are commonly known and are not harmful to any of their traditions. Care has to be taken in designing logos, banners, and symbols that are not obscene for a community and the colors shall be selected that do not symbolize anything respective in a specific culture.

3. Enable Easy Access to a Specific Language

Creating multiple views with respect to a different language is one of enticing marketing techniques to outreach a greater audience, but it work perfectly well if they can easily access the pages. Suppose, you create a French variant of a product page, but the people from France may be unable to find it if an option is not provided on the main landing page. A recommended practice is to create an option either on the top left or right corner of every page that clarifies the current page language and provide access to other languages as well.

Again, if you’re wondering how to translate your WordPress website into multiple languages you’re best bet is to use a plugin. Most will add a helpful button, toggle or dropdown on your website pages to make navigating between languages extremely easy for your readers.

4. Carefully Select a URL Structure

It is always a wise decision to select an independent domain name for your business for promotion through different platforms and search engines. Once you select the core domain name, then decide upon how you need to represent the language versions within the URL. For example, to have a localized version of your store for France, you can select any of the three methods mentioned below,

  • www.YourStore.fr (country code Top Level Domain)
  • fr.YourStore.com (having a sub-domain for language or region)
  • YourStore.com/fr/ (creating a subdirectory for a language)

Experts often recommended the third method that is creating subdirectories for each language as it is an affordable and easy to manage alternative.

5. Translate Each Tagline

Translate WordPress Taglines

Creating a multilingual website means delivering an ultimate experience of browsing and shopping in a familiar or native language. Translating the body text, product name, and description will not work if the tag lines are written in a default language. Try to fully optimize a web page with a language and do not miss a single corner. It may require you to harmonize the overall translation that includes every tag line, page content, values and figures, product name in URL, error or greeting messages, email notifications, etc.

Again, this should be easy to handle with your translation plugin however it’s important that your theme is translation ready for the plugin to work properly. If the developer coded their theme the right way (like WPExplorer has with the Total WordPress theme) you should be able to easily target various theme content, including titles and taglines, for translation. If not, you can checkout this guide on how to localize and translate WordPress themes (though this is only advised for intermediate to advanced WordPress users).

6. Make Every Language Comparable

Most digital businesses start with the English language by default and gradually expand to different regions and communities through a multilingual website. The text and design created for the first time are very robust, whereas the additional language versions are merely translated for the sake of reaching out to other communities. This may create a gap between the understanding and first impression of your English (by default) site and the translated versions.

Ensure every language is comparable to the standard one when your make your WordPress site multilingual. The merchants and sellers need to frequently review and compare multi-lingual page views to eradicate any difference, and bring it in-line with the overall vision and goals of the business.

7. Deliver Customer Support to All Listed Languages

wordpress helpdesk plugins knowledge-base

Customer support symbolizes the back bone of your business and incorporating the same facility in your multilingual website works like a charm. It encourages users to interact with your team through informal live chat and calls. Offering such a support for multiple languages is difficult, but quite manageable for large size enterprises and corporate concerns. It may require the business owners to recruit an entire team of support agents to handle queries in different languages.

Small and medium size businesses may hardly follow this practice because they have a simple infrastructure and low budget to acquire a support team. Initially, they can start a support department for the major languages and keep on hiring agents for more languages as the business expands. To better integrate support, give the Knowledge Base Helpdesk & Wiki plugin a try. Not only does this plugin feature multilingual options, but it uses an intuitive interface that makes finding and receive help much easier for your customers (and for your staff).

8. Achieve Consistency Across Language Versions

Equally design features, functionality, options and content represent consistency across your local and international websites. The design and content may vary according to the rules and traditions of any specific regions, but the overall appearance and layout need to be similar. It helps you gain credibility among the regional audiences as they find the same products offered to another region in their respective language and currency.

9. Promotion and Outreach

Performance Optimization and Tracking

Draft a multilingual marketing strategy with WordPress to reach out to the communities who would like to show interest in your products and services. The outreach campaign may include social media marketing, email marketing, search engine optimization, and any other method that is fruitful in a specific region. You may also need to develop key performance indicators (KPIs) to execute the success rate of the marketing efforts.

10. Carry on SEO According to Regional Preferences

Google is surely a dominant search engine but still, there are some regions that discourage using it. A multilingual website that aims to reach people across the borders must take into account the preferred search engines of their target audience. For example, people of China prefer to use the Baidu search engine, whereas Bing is quite popular in France and United Kingdom. So, while developing SEO strategies, do include the websites which can give you more return from a specific region.

Conclusion

The core purpose of developing a multilingual website is a global outreach. A website that serves people of a language to confined to a country or two. But, the addition of multiple languages doubles the outreach by attracting people from different regions and dialect. By understanding the global aspects and demand of your products, you can also decide to create such a website with the help of above- discussed practices.



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How to Setup a Membership Site with WordPress & MemberPress


MemberPress is an impressive tool that will give you the ability to turn your WordPress website into a fully fledged membership site. This premium plugin is an ideal choice for those who are wanting to create a successful online membership business. But is it the right solution for you?

In this article, we will consider the features that MemberPress WordPress membership plugin offers. We will then look at how to set up the basics of this advanced plugin, and turn your WordPress website into a useable membership site. So let’s get started…

Features of MemberPress

MemberPress

MemberPress is a premium WordPress plugin that works with any WordPress theme. Its primary feature is that it allows you to convert your website into a membership site. By hiding content and setting up membership subscriptions, you can charge visitors to access your posts and pages.

Easy to Set Up

MemberPress is intuitive. This makes it quick and easy to set up and use. Quickly create membership plans and subscription forms, integrate with payment gateways of your choice, add registration and login links to your site’s menu, produce attractive comparison tables, and much more.

Ideal for Beginners and Developers

MemberPress works straight out of the box, with a straightforward setup that makes it ideal for beginners. However, MemberPress also includes a large number of actions and filters. This makes it a great choice for those advanced users who want to customize their membership site to exact specifications.

Membership Plans

MemberPress gives you full control over your membership plans. Choose the price of each membership, add billing preferences, and create a trial period, to name a few options. Then create rules to hide content, and allow certain pieces of content to be displayed on particular membership plans.

Seamless Payment Gateway Integration

MemberPress accepts payments by integrating with all the big payment gateway providers. Choose from Paypal Standard, Pro or Express Checkout, Stripe, Authorize.net, or offline payments. You can also add more than one payment gateway if you wish.

Thorough Documentation

The documentation provided with MemberPress is thorough, using a combination of instructional text and video. So if you become stuck, you can quickly re-find your way.

Extra Features

MemberPress boasts a range of other impressive features and functionalities. These include:

  • Beautiful Pricing Tables
  • Email Integration with all Major Marketing Providers
  • Integration with BuddyPress
  • Content Dripping
  • Discount Coupons
  • Member Management
  • Analytics Reporting

As you can see, MemberPress offers an impressive list of features. We will now have a look at how to get started with the MemberPress plugin, so you can turn your WordPress website into a successful membership site…

How to Install the MemberPress WordPress Plugin

To get started purchase the MemberPress plugin from the MemberPress website. Then, from within your MemberPress account, simply download the plugin to your computer.

Get MemberPress

Open your WordPress website and select ‘Plugins > Add New’.

Add New Plugins

Click on ‘Upload Plugin > Choose file’, and select the MemberPress plugin from your saved files. Click ‘Install Plugin > Activate’. You will now find ‘MemberPress’ has been added to your WordPress dashboard menu.

MemberPress Menu

Select ‘MemberPress > Activate’. This will take you to the ‘Activation Page’ where you will need to add your activation key. Then select ‘Activate Licence Key’.

MemberPress License

Your MemberPress plugin is now installed and activated.

Configure the MemberPress Plugin

The next step is to configure your MemberPress plugin. In your WordPress menu select ‘MemberPress > Options’. Here you can configure the plugin to suit your WordPress membership site’s needs.

Options tab

There are numerous tabs on the ‘Options’ page.  Let’s have a look at a few of the most important ones…

Pages

Under ‘Pages’ you can customize your basic MemberPress pages. The ‘Reserved Pages’ are essential pages and must be set. These include the ‘thank you’ page, ‘login’ page and ‘account’ page.

Pages

You can select ‘Auto Create New Page’ if you would like MemberPress to automatically create the pages for you. Otherwise, you can design and select your own pages for use from the drop down menu.

Pages 2

Once you have made necessary changes, select ‘ Update Options’.

Account

Account

The ‘Accounts’ area allows you to customize member information. Here you can select the options you would like for your user’s accounts. You can also add a welcome message for members, that will be displayed at the top of their account page.

Fields

Fields

The ‘Fields’ tab will let you create custom fields for your sign up form, and accounts page. Collect information about your members including their name, address, email, birthday, and much more.

Payments

Payments

The ‘Payments’ tab is where you can add the payment gateways of your choice. As mentioned earlier, MemberPress can be integrated with numerous payment providers. Simply click on the ‘+’ icon, and then specify the payment gateways you want to add to your membership site.

Emails

There are an assortment of email types you can send out to your members. Select the ‘Emails’ tab. Then simply choose the email types that will suit your WordPress website.

Email

Click on ‘Edit’ to customize each email. Then send a test email to check that each email type is suitable and of a high quality. Here you can also select which email types you would like admin to receive.

Once you have configured the ‘Options’, you are ready to get started setting up the rest of your MemberPress site.

Set Up Membership Plans

To set up membership plans on your website, select ‘MemberPress > Memberships’ from your WordPress menu. Click on ‘Add New’, located at the top of the page. Then give your membership plan a name (here I have called it Premium).

Add New Premium Membership

Under ‘Membership Terms’, on the right-hand side of the page, you can select the price of the plan, whether you want it to be a one off payment or a recurring payment, add a trial period option, and lots more.

Membership Terms

Further down the page, you can customize the ‘Membership Options’ section. Here you can alter the text on the registration button, add a custom thank you message, set rules for who can access the membership plan, as well as much more.

Membership Options

Once you are happy with your settings, publish the Membership page. Then log out of your WordPress account to view the page, or open the page incognito. You will now see the default membership signup form for the membership plan you have just created.

Signup Form

If you want to alter your membership pages, you can use any page templates available in your theme. Simply select a ‘Custom Page Template’, located on the right-hand side of your editor in the membership page you are working on.

After creating your first membership plan, you can keep adding more by simply clicking ‘Add New’. Use shortcode, found under ‘Membership Options’, to add the signup form to any page or post on your WordPress website.

Create Rules for Your Membership Plans

Once you have created the different plans you need for your membership site, you need to set the rules for each plan. Setting the rules allows you to hide content from non-subscribers, and select which content types will be available on each plan.

To get started, select ‘MemberPress > Rules’ from the WordPress menu. Then choose ‘Add New’. An ‘Add New Rule’ page will now be displayed.

New Rule

Under ‘Rule Options’ you can choose what content you would like to protect from non-paying members. Here you can hide all content, different posts, pages, content categories or tags, or choose from many other options.

Rule options

You can then give access to this content to members who have purchased particular plans. Click ‘Save Rule’ and then create as many rules as necessary to cater for your different plan types.

Add a Registration Link to Your Site’s Menu

Once all your membership plans are completely setup, you should add a registration link to your website’s menu to make it easy for your visitors to become subscribers.

Select ‘Appearance > Menus’ in your WordPress menu, or open the ‘Customizer > Menus’ on the front end of your site. Here you will notice there is now a ‘Memberships’ option. Select your plans and then click on ‘Add to Menu’. Change the ‘Navigation Label’ if you wish, then select ‘Save Menu’.

Menu

Your menu will now display links to your different membership plans.

Add a Login Link to Your Membership Site’s Menu

Login Link

To add a login link to your membership site’s menu, MemberPress recommends downloading the free WordPress plugin BAW Login-Logout.

LoginLogout Menu

Install this plugin on your WordPress website and then open ‘Appearance > Menu’. You will now find ‘Login/logout links v1.3.3’ added to your menu items. Select ‘login/logout’ and then ‘Add to Menu > Save Menu’.

LoginLogout

Click on ‘MemberPress > Options’ from the WordPress menu. Click on the ‘Account’ tab, and under ‘Login and Logout’ select ‘Force WordPress to use the MemberPress login page’.

Force WordPress

This will ensure that WordPress opens the BAW plugin membership login page. Members can now log in to their account on your site and access the premium content they have purchased.

Final Thoughts on MemberPress

This advanced plugin offers an (almost) endless list of features, making it ideal for any type of membership site. In this article, we have only covered the basics of getting started with MemberPress. However, by just following the steps above, you will be able to create a working membership site that will hide content from non-subscribers, enable visitors to sign up to membership plans, and generate revenue for your WordPress website.

Once you have completed these first few stages to get your membership site setup, you can then produce attractive comparison tables, add coupons, track transactions and subscriptions, setup an affiliate program, monitor analytics, and much much more. So if you are looking to create a successful membership plugin, then MemberPress may well be the WordPress plugin for your project.

Does MemberPress sound like the best membership plugin for you? Please share your thoughts in the comments below…



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Top Tools to Build an Online Store with WordPress


If you’re looking for a way to earn money online, opening your own e-commerce store is a great option. The flexibility alone is a solid reason, but the savings and improved brand visibility over a physical location also make it a smart choice. However, the process of creating a store can seem overwhelming, and you may be unsure about what tools to use.

Fortunately, when you use WordPress as your platform you have access to dozens of e-commerce plugins. These plugins can add shopping carts, review platforms, and so much more to your site – providing just about everything you need to run a successful online storefront.

In this post, we’ll discuss why you might want to build your own online store, and touch on why you should consider WordPress as your platform. Then we’ll introduce you to five tools for building your online store in WordPress, and explain what makes each unique. Let’s get started!

Why You Should Consider Building an Online Store with WordPress

If you’re looking to start up a new store, it can be challenging to decide between a brick-and-mortar or online venue. However, e-commerce stores offer a number of benefits over their traditional counterparts:

  • Reduced overhead costs: Without a physical storefront, you can keep operating costs to a minimum.
  • Expanded geographic reach: An online presence enables you to expand your brand’s reach, which results in more potential customers for your store.
  • Lowered marketing costs: Online marketing is usually cheaper than physical marketing tactics.

In addition, you can easily sell a variety of product types through an online store. These include physical products, digital goods, and even memberships and services.

Of course, even when you know you want to go the online route, it can still be difficult to know where to begin. We recommend building your store with WordPress, because of its built-in flexibility, extensive functionality thanks to themes and plugins, and top-notch security.

If you create your site with WordPress, you’ll get access to many excellent tools dedicated solely to helping you build an online store. In fact, there are so many that it can be a little overwhelming. However, the official Plugin Directory makes it simple to find most of what you’ll need. Next, we’ll check out a few of the best options.

5 Top Tools for Building an Online Store in WordPress

While there are many e-commerce plugins available for WordPress, we believe that these five are the some of the best choices. This is due to their features, high ratings, and the consistent support they receive from their developers. Let’s check them out!

1. WooCommerce (Free)

WooCommerce WordPress plugin

WooCommerce was developed by Automattic, the company behind WordPress and Jetpack. If you’re looking for both simplicity and flexibility, this is the e-commerce plugin for you.

With WooCommerce, you can sell physical and digital products, as well as memberships, service bookings, and even recurring subscriptions. This is one of the most popular e-commerce plugins, and for good reason! One major feature is the plugin’s seemingly endless list of premium add-ons. These extensions enable you to connect with many popular storefront management brands and tools.

Best of all, the base plugin is free. Even without the premium extensions, you can still create a beautiful online store. That is why 42% of online stores run on WooCommerce.

2. Easy Digital Downloads (Free)

Easy Digital Downloads WordPress plugin

Easy Digital Downloads is a targeted e-commerce solution. It’s a great choice if you sell only digital products on your site – such as e-books, PDFs, or music – and it’s free to use and customize as you like.

While other e-commerce plugins – such as WooCommerce – enable the sale of digital downloads, that usually isn’t the main focus. With Easy Digital Downloads, you get more customization options specific to sell digital products online, enabling you to tailor each display to your customers’ needs.

With the base plugin, you’ll be able to use PayPal and Amazon as your payment gateways. Plus, there are paid extensions that enable the use of Stripe, Braintree, and much more. Other premium add-ons include analytics tracking, accounting software, and even email marketing. You can also purchase add-on packages, making it easier to get started.

3. Ecwid eCommerce Shopping Cart (Freemium)

Ecwid ecommerce shopping cart WordPress plugin

Ecwid eCommerce Shopping Cart is a plugin that offers much for its small price tag. Not only can you completely customize the plugin’s features to fit your shoppers’ needs, you can also manage your store on the go (thanks to the mobile Point of Sale (POS) application).

This is one of the more flexible options on our list, as it provides a number of native features that other e-commerce plugins don’t include by default. For example, this plugin enables you to accept 40 international payment options – both online and in-person – and offers unlimited storage and scheduled backups of product listings.

Additionally, you can add a shopping cart directly to your Facebook business page. This further expands your reach, and can help you to convert followers into customers. The plugin is free for up to 10 products, and premium plans begin at just $15 per month.

4. WP EasyCart (Freemium)

WP EasyCart WordPress plugin

WP EasyCart is a customizable e-commerce plugin with all the trimmings. Of course, you get access to the usual e-commerce features, but this plugin has a few extra tricks up its sleeve.

One handy feature is the integrated Google Analytics tracking. All you need to do is add your Google Analytics ID in the Basic Settings page after installing the plugin. From there, you’ll be able to keep an eye on product conversions, and see which sales strategies are working best.

Unfortunately, the free version of WP EasyCart has somewhat limited features. However, you can upgrade to a premium account, and get access to all the plugin’s functionality, for as little as $50 (this is a one-time fee).

5. WordPress Simple PayPal Shopping Cart (Free)

WordPress Simple Paypal Shopping Cart plugin

WordPress Simple PayPal Shopping Cart is a plugin that does exactly what its name implies. If PayPal is your preferred method of payment, this plugin offers a ton of useful features. It’s also easy to use, as all you’ll need to do is copy and paste developer-built shortcodes.

While many other e-commerce plugins incorporate PayPal, they also include a number of other gateways. If PayPal is your one and only payment option, this plugin will cut down on complexity while providing more targeted functionality.

Perhaps the best thing about this plugin is that it’s absolutely free. All advertised features are included within the base version, and the developers won’t try to sell you premium add-ons. That’s just one more way this plugin adds simplicity to your online business.

Conclusion

When you decide to open your own online store, there will be a lot of decisions to make. Fortunately, WordPress offers a number of high-quality e-commerce plugins – both free and premium – to make the process of displaying and selling your products that much simpler.

In this post, we’ve introduced you to five of our recommend e-commerce plugins for WordPress. To recap, they are:

  1. WooCommerce: An all-in-one storefront plugin that offers both simplicity and flexibility.
  2. Easy Digital Downloads: A digitally-focused plugin that’s great for download-only stores.
  3. Ecwid Ecommerce Shopping Cart: An e-commerce plugin that offers on-to-go sales for those who have both online and offline storefronts.
  4. WP EasyCart: A no-fuss shopping cart that provides an excellent way to keep track of conversions.
  5. WordPress Simple PayPal Shopping Cart: A PayPal-only e-commerce solution that’s ideal if you’re looking for simplicity and ease of use.

Which of these e-commerce plugins interests you, and why? Let us know in the comments section below!



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How to Organize Content on Your WordPress Website


While the content you write for your blog is important, so too is the way in which you organize it. In fact, poor content organization on your blog can lead to a decrease in readership and a lack of reader engagement, among other issues.

Fortunately, structuring your content properly isn’t all that difficult. It will probably require a few tweaks to your blog, but many of those changes can be handled in minutes. You’ll find that you can create a more enjoyable experience for your readers this way, without breaking a sweat.

In this post, we’ll discuss the importance of blog content organization. Then we’ll offer up a few tips for structuring your content, and provide some easy ways to implement each strategy. Let’s get started!

Why It’s Crucial to Organize Your Blog’s Content

When it comes to blogging, content organization means managing how the content on your blog is structured as a whole. It’s important to understand that an unorganized blog can frustrate visitors, and possibly drive them away (increasing your bounce rate). Your readers should not have to scour your site for the content they want; it should be accessible and easy to locate.

Aside from avoiding the above-mentioned problems, organization can also offer your readers a more enjoyable experience. Proper organization:

  • Keeps your blog user-friendly, promoting continued readership.
  • Encourages readers to explore, enabling them to experience more of your content.
  • Makes your blog appear more professional, lending it credibility and authority.
  • Provides a boost to your blog SEO, which can improve your site’s traffic.

Ultimately, the way your blog is organized is just as important as the content you offer. If they can’t navigate easily, visitors aren’t likely to stick around or share your work with others.

How to Organize Your Content to Keep Readers Glued to Your Blog (3 Key Tips)

Fortunately, the process of organization is straightforward when you’re using WordPress as your platform. With just a few tweaks to your current setup, you can easily keep your readers engaged and coming back for more. Let’s take a look at three of the most important strategies you can implement.

1. Use Categories and Tags Effectively

WPMU DEV blog post categories

WPMU DEV uses categories and tags on its blog, and includes a drop-down menu so readers can search by category.

One of the easiest ways to organize your blog’s content is to use WordPress’ built-in categories and tags system. These tools enable you to logically structure your content, which your readers should appreciate.

In simplest terms, categories are a general grouping tool for your posts. On the other hand, tags are used more as a post index. For example, if you run a health blog and write a post about different exercise routines, the overall category could be Fitness or Exercise. Tags vary more widely, and should be as specific as possible. If our example blog post discussed yoga, calisthenics, and cardio routines, those would make three perfect tags.

To begin using categories and tags effectively, there are three main rules you’ll want to keep in mind:

  1. Use descriptive names. This goes for both your categories and tags, since it increases the chances that readers will be able to find the content they want on your blog.
  2. Limit blog posts to one category each. Doing this minimizes confusion, and keeps your organization scheme as simple as possible.
  3. Use tags liberally. Unlike categories, your blog posts should have a variety of tags. These work as an index, and communicate the topic of each post to readers and search engines alike.

If you currently have a lot of posts on your blog, it can take a while to work out the best set of categories. However, once your system is set up, it’ll be easy to implement going forward.

2. Create Clear and User-Friendly Menus

Elegant Themes homepage

Elegant Themes uses a clean and direct navigation menu, to make it easy for readers to find what they need.

While structuring your content is essential, so too is organizing how your readers will find that content. Clear and user-friendly menus are an essential first step, since well-designed menus ensure that your readers can easily navigate your site. When readers spend less time figuring out how your site works, they can spend more time reading and engaging with your content.

To get started, you’ll first need to decide between using your theme’s menu setup or WordPress’ default options. Most themes offer custom menu functionality. However, the WordPress setup is just as effective, so the choice here is a matter of preference.

No matter which menu system you decide to use, keep these two tips in mind when building your menu:

  1. Use obvious names. When it comes to navigation, it’s best to refrain from creativity and stick to obvious terms (such as HomeContact, and Blog). This will make navigation simpler, and your readers won’t be left guessing.
  2. Maintain a consistent model. It helps to use the same navigation model from page to page, to eliminate surprises. This also means positioning your menus the same way throughout your website.

When creating menus, it’s smart to keep them as simple as possible. You want new visitors to be able to find their way around right away. The best way to do this to use tried-and-true methods, such as the strategies outlined above.

3. Offer Related Posts and Content

WPExplorer Related Posts

You can add related posts to your site to encourage further reading, like this example from right here at WPExplorer

As your blog grows, you’ll have more content to share with your readers. For obvious reasons, the more content you offer, the more time readers can spend on your blog. Extensive archives can also build authority, providing proof of your knowledge and experience in your niche.

To encourage readers to experience all of this content, you can show them related posts to prompt their interest. Of course, you’ll first want to be sure that the content you’re promoting is valuable and high-quality. If you have any sub-par posts, it’s best to update them before offering them to your readers.

Once you’re ready to incorporate related posts on your blog, here are two tips to make the process as easy as possible:

  1. Incorporate links to related content throughout your new posts. Internal linking is huge for SEO. You can do this by making natural connections between topics in your writing.
  2. Use a related posts plugin or widget. Plugins such as Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP) and Jetpack enable you to feature similar content at the end of your blog posts and web pages (but many premium themes like Total include built-in related posts options so no added plugins are needed).

The main goal of this strategy is to keep readers on your blog for as long as possible. Providing related posts and content keeps readers engaged and offers them more value. This is an easy way to boost time spent on your website, while also meeting your readers’ needs.

Conclusion

As a blogger, you want to keep your readers happy and engaged. However, a poorly organized site can distract from these goals, and can lead to a reduced readership. Fortunately, it’s possible to easily structure your blog in a way that improves your readers’ experience.

In this post, we’ve outlined three techniques you can use to organize your content and keep readers glued to your blog. To recap, they are:

  1. Focus on providing clear navigation with categories and tags.
  2. Create clear and user-friendly menus.
  3. Offer up related posts and content.

Do you have any questions about how you can best organize your blog content to keep readers happy? Let us know in the comments section below!



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10 Common WordPress Theme Issues & How To Fix Them


There are thousands of forum posts opened everyday not only on WordPress.org but also on other forums and of course nearly every theme developer’s support site regarding very common issues that can be solved very quickly and easily. I’m sure theme developers and community members are pretty bored of answering these questions over and over again, so I’ve decided to write the following post which addresses some of the most common WordPress theme issues so you can bookmark it and have it ready at your disposal.

1. Stylesheet Is Missing

You’ve just downloaded or purchased a super awesome theme and you go to install it and see the lovely message below:

Stylesheet Is Missing

Well your first thought might be…

“the developer screwed me and gave me a theme without a stylesheet”

Of course it is possible the zip file you received didn’t have a style.css file, but more likely the issue is you didn’t upload the root theme folder.

Missing Stylesheet Error Solution

Locate the folder you have of the theme on your desktop and open it (if it is zipped, unzip and open it). Now when you open it you should see all your files in there, if not the theme is likely in a sub-directory. For example our premium themes all have the theme inside an “Installable Theme” folder. Generally it’s somewhere obvious and the actual theme folder will likely be named the same as the theme. Once found zip it and upload via WordPress or upload the unzipped folder via FTP.

2. Sample Data Import Errors

You’ve got your theme installed and now you are uploading a sample .xml file the theme developer was so nice to provide you with and yet again you get an error!

Sample Data Import Errors

Failed to Import Error Solution 1

The “failed” to import error is usually 1 of 2 things. The first is that it could be trying to load posts or taxonomies from custom post types that do not exist yet.

  • Activate Theme: Make sure the theme you are going to use is active.
  • Double Check Theme: Make sure the theme actually includes these custom post types and taxonomies – maybe ask the developer or if you know how look yourself

Failed to Import Error Solution 2

For errors that show “Failed to import Media” the images aren’t being downloaded.

  • Did you check the box to import attachments? Before running the import did you you need to check the box that reads “download and import file attachments”.
  • Are the images accessible? It’s possible the mages aren’t accessible from the server. You could open the sample data in a text editor and try and locate one of those files and test the link in your browser. But the easiest is probably to contact the theme developer and let them know that the images aren’t downloading.

3. Homepage Doesn’t Look Like The Demo

It would be great if any theme you activated looked exactly like the demo once it was activated? Our Total WordPress theme does this when you use the built-in demo importer, but not every theme can be as awesome as Total.

So if you’ve installed a theme (and it’s sample data) but your site isn’t matching up to the theme demo there are a couple very common reasons why your homepage might look different.

Homepage Display Error Solution 1

Homepage Reading Setting

Reading settings are wrong. This means your theme either does or doesn’t require a home page to be set, and you have your site set to the opposite. So go to Settings > Reading and check the options under “Front Page Displays.”

If your theme doesn’t require any page template for the homepage layout make sure this option is set to”Your latest posts.” If your theme does use a homepage template, have your site set to use a static homepage.

Homepage Display Error Solution 2

Homepage Template

You need to use a homepage template. A lot of theme developers use custom page templates for their homepage layouts. So you should first of course read the documentation files, but if there aren’t any head over and create a new page, while in the editor under Page Attributes > Template check to see if there is a Home, Homepage, Frontpage or similar template. If so, then you likely need to create a page using this template, save/publish it, then head over to Settings > Reading to set it as your static front page option.

4. My URL’s Are “Ugly”

By default the default WordPress url structure isn’t very “pretty” much less SEO-Friendly. So when you first setup your website URLS might look ugly (a mish-mash of the post ID, publish date, post title and even the category). Don’t worry – it’s easy to fix.

Ugly URLs Error Solution

Permalink Settings

So if your urls aren’t looking that great (yourwebsite.com/?p=1) simply go to Settings > Permalinks and change your setting to the “Post Name” option (or any of the others – just choose the one that best works for you).

5. My Posts Are Returning 404 Errors

Github 404 Error

If you have posts that are now returning a 404 error page, don’t panic (yet) most of the time your posts are still there and you just need to update your permalink settings to fix the issue. This is very common with themes that use custom post types. Whenever you activate a new theme that uses custom post types you should reset your permalink settings.

Posts Showing 404 Error Solution

The simplest fix is to just go to Settings > Permalinks and click the save button. Usually this will do the trick. But if this doesn’t work you might have to update your .htaccess file manually (note: we do not recommend tackling this on your own if you’re brand new to WordPress, instead you might need to contact a freelance developer for assistance). You can read more about using WordPress permalinks in the WordPress codex.

6. My Menu Is Blank

For those who use WordPress on a daily basis you will likely not have this issue, but if you are very new to WordPress or you used WordPress a few years ago and just getting back it you might be confused as to why your menu is blank when you install the theme.

Missing Menu Error Solution

WordPress Menu Settings

The default WordPress theme has a fallback for the WordPress menu in case there isn’t any setup, however, not all theme developers have added this to their own themes.

To make sure your menus are working, head over to Appearance > Menu to setup your menu.

  1. Make sure you have a menu. If you don’t, you’ll need to create one (checkout this post to learn how to setup menus in WordPress)
  2. Make sure the menu is assigned to a location. Below your menu you should see “Display Locations” – these are the menu areas built into your theme. Some themes may only have one main menu location, others might have tons of locations. Just be sure to check the option for where you want your menu to appear then save.

7. New Theme Uses Featured Images But I Have a Ton Of Posts Without Them

Prior to WordPress 2.9 there wasn’t featured image (post thumbnails) support in WordPress so many themes used meta options or custom fields for defining featured images or they didn’t have any sort of default post image.

So maybe you are switching from an older theme to a new one that does support featured images or maybe your prior theme was just very minimal and didn’t use them. We’ll you aren’t going to take hours to go through your hundreds of posts to set the featured image (or maybe you are) so there is a quick solution for this and it comes in the form of a plugin!

No Featured Images Error Solution

Easy Add Thumbnail Plugin

A simple solution is to use the “Easy Add Thumbnail” plugin to automatically set featured images on old posts. Just install, activate and follow the instructions to add images to old posts. Going forward, just remember to add your featured images when you publish new posts.

8. Slides, Accordions, Toggles, Tabs…Not or Stopped Working!

A lot of WordPress themes these days make use of java-script/jQuery to enhance the themes adding things such as image sliders, toggles, accordions, tabs, mobile menus, image hovers…etc.

If the these features are not working on your theme or suddenly stopped working its most likely do to some sort of javascript error causing everything to break.

Broken Slides, Toggles, Tabs, etc Error Solution

WP Engine Cache

The first thing you should do is disable all your plugins, clear your cache (all of them) and re-load your site to check if everything is working how it should be. If it is, then now you can activate your plugins back 1 by 1 and as soon as it breaks you’ll know that last plugin was the one causing issues (make note of this plugin, deactivate then keep doing the same).

Once you know which plugin/plugins are causing the issue you can either search for new plugin with the same functionality that is compatible, or you can contact the plugin or theme developer to let them know of the conflict (first inspect the page to see what the actual issues are so you can contact the appropriate person – if its a plugin error send a note the plugin dev, or if its a theme error the theme dev).

9. Styling Changes Aren’t Doing Anything

So you have your theme all setup and now you want to change the way it looks to give it more of your own “personality” and really make it match your brand, business, niche…etc. So you’ve started adding some custom CSS to your site or modifying the stylesheet but whenever you refresh your site none of your changes are taking affect!

Missing Style Edits Error Solution

WordPress Live Customizer

There are a few steps you can take to ensure your edits are applied:

  • Disable Cache: The most common issue is that you have some sort of caching plugin such as W3 Total Cache installed and caching your CSS. If you do, you should disable it.
  • WordPress Customizer: If using the theme customizer you should try clicking the save button then refreshing the page to see if your changes take affect.
  • Background not changing: If you are simply trying to change the background using the WordPress background dashboard you might be having issues if the theme you are using has an image set for the background. Try uploading a new image just to test because that should override it. Uploading a 1px solid color and setting it to repeat might be a decent option as well.
  • WordPress Editor Changes: If you are trying to make changes via the WordPress editor at Appearance > Editor the changes might not actually be saving due to server permissions, but if this is the case you will receive an error. You can learn more about setting file permissions here.

10. I’ve Updated My Theme And All My Changes Are Gone!

The most likely cause of this error is that you made manual changes to your template files such as the style.css file (usually). Then when you updated your theme your edited files were overwritten by the default theme code. This is why we NEVER recommend making changes to original theme.

Theme Changes Are Gone Error Solution

Adding Custom Code to WordPress

Unfortunately your edits may be gone forever unless you have a backup of your website that you can use to restore it. Some hosting companies offer 30-days worth of website backups, so try contacting your host if you need help locating and/or reverting to a backup. If you have your own manual backup, you should be able to restore your theme files via FTP.

While you might not be able to fix this issue presently you can take precautions to be sure you’re not in this situation again. In the future, when you want to make edits to your themes you should be using one (or more) of the following:

  • Custom CSS Plugin. If you only need a few small tweaks you could use a custom CSS plugin to make your tweaks and ensure they aren’t deleted during a theme update. Here are a two we like:
  • Create A Child Theme. Creating a child theme is probably the best method of customizing your theme and will allow the greatest flexibility and even allow you to edit template files (besides just style.css), remove or add new scripts as well as add custom functions.
  • Maintain Full Website Backups. In case something goes wrong it’s always a good idea to keep backups of your website. For this we highly recommend you backup your WordPress website (which is different from the server backups your hosting company might offer) using one of the following:
  • Keep A Changelog. Whether you are editing the template files manually (best no to) or using a child theme, creating a changelog is the best way for you to keep track of all the tweaks you’ve made to the theme. It’s especially useful if something breaks so you can back-track and see where you might have made a mistake.

Wrapping Up

There you have it – 10 common WordPress errors plus solutions so you can fix them. But these are just a few of the errors we see folks run into most often. For more tips you should also have a look at this guide we wrote on how to install your Themeforest WordPress theme (though the guide has tips that would apply to most themes).

If you’re having other issues your first step should be to do a quick Google search to see if you can find an answer yourself. If after researching on your own you still can’t find an answer, try contacting the theme or plugin author (if it’s an issue with their product) or visit a forum like Reddit or Envato to see if a community member can help. Chances are the error you’re getting is more common than you think!



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Breaking Down Barriers: Why WordPress Website Accessibility Is Key


In this post I’m going to show you why it is so important to make your WordPress website more accessible, and introduce simple tools that anyone can use to increase accessibility for everyone. Why? Because your ultimate goal is to get as many people as possible to visit your website. How can you expect to do that if you’re not making your site accessible to all?

Furthermore, most of us focus on finding magic ways of driving high volumes of traffic to our site using the latest social media marketing strategies and search engine optimization methods, but what a lot of us forget about is this: The folks that have already found you need to be able to easily navigate around your website.

This is extremely important, because just like in a brick and mortar business situation, people come in all types, shapes and sizes. Ultimately, you want those who have taken the time to visit your establishment to spend some time looking around, spend some money, come back often, and best of all, bring others back with them.

If you weren’t interested in website accessibility before, you should be now. With that said, let’s crack on!

What is Website Accessibility?

Let’s take a moment to understand what we are talking about.

Website accessibility refers to the practice of removing barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to websites, by people with disabilities. When sites are correctly designed, developed and edited, all users have equal access to information and functionality.

So we’re really talking about the practice of removing barriers. That may sound complicated, but it’s really not. For example, a barrier in your website can be something as simple as not creating a visible and meaningful title (i.e. text that will appear as a tooltip) for a link.

If you’re an average internet traveler and you are suddenly let down by the lack of a little effort on the part of the website designer and/or webmaster to make his or her site easier to navigate, just imagine what a person with a vision disability is feeling right now.

The Internet Through Others’ Eyes

Have you ever wondered what it’s like for a sense-impaired or otherwise mentally or physically disabled person to browse the Internet? Possibly not. I encourage you to take some time to do so right now, because it could change the way you create and run websites from now on. Let’s explore some of the challenges that face many web users:

  • Visual: impairments including blindness, various common types of low vision and poor eyesight, various types of color blindness.
  • Motor/Mobility: e.g. difficulty or inability to use the hands, including tremors, muscle slowness, loss of fine muscle control, etc., due to conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, stroke.
  • Auditory: Deafness or hearing impairments, including individuals who are hard of hearing.
  • Seizures: Photo epileptic seizures caused by visual strobe or flashing effects.
  • Cognitive/Intellectual: Developmental disabilities, learning disabilities (dyslexia, dyscalculia, etc.), and cognitive disabilities of various origins, affecting memory, attention, developmental “maturity,” problem-solving and logic skills, etc.

The good news is there are a lot of assistive technologies available for people with disabilities that enable them to enjoy surfing the net. Your job as a website designer is to make sure that your site adheres to certain guidelines that will enable those technologies to function.

Popular Internet Accessibility Tools

Speaking of assistive technologies, here are a selection of the most popular internet accessibility plugins often used:

  • Screen reader software that uses synthesized speech to read out what is happening on the computer.
  • Refreshable braille displays that render text as braille characters.
  • Screen magnification software that enlarges what is being displayed on the monitor.
  • Speech recognition software that turns voice into text.
  • Keyboard overlays to make typing easier and more accurate

And yes, there’s even an app for that:

  • Free assistive technology from eSSENTIAL Accessibility helps people who have trouble typing, moving a mouse or reading a screen.

Now that you understand what individuals with disabilities face when they are reading a blog, or learning about what an Echidna is (*hint* it looks like an extra spiky hedgehog) and what it loves to eat, or maybe just shopping for that perfect gift online, we can look at some tools that can help you to achieve a thoroughly accessible website design. After all, if your site is properly accessible to those with disabilities, just think how easy it will be for everyone to navigate.

How to Choose an Accessible WordPress Theme

The first step to a fully accessible website is picking a theme that is accessibility ready. Many theme developers are taking the time to implement guidelines from the WordPress Theme Accessibility Handbook, so your best bet is to simply ask the author if a particular theme is accessibility ready.

WAVE Accessibility Test

For example, here at WPExplorer we’ve been working closely with the University of Hawaii to make the Total WordPress theme more accessible. Want to have a look? If you run the UH website through the WAVE web accessibility evaluation tool you can see how they’ve implemented the theme’s features to make their website usable for all of their students.

WordPress.org Main Theme Directory

You can also find free accessible themes on WordPress.org, just click the Themes menu link at the top of the page to open the Theme Directory. Look for the sub-menu titled Feature Filter. It will have a little gear next to it. Click that.

This opens a plethora of options for you to choose from when filtering your search. Under Features, click the top feature which is – you guessed it – Accessibility Ready.

WordPress.org Main Theme Directory Accessibility Filter

You may then select as many other filters as you would like. Over to the left, you will see the Apply Filters button which will show you how many filters you have applied. Click Apply Filters. Please keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times.

WordPress.org Accessibility Ready Themes

You have now arrived at your destination. Please remain seated until the vehicle has come to a complete stop and the doors have fully opened. Then pick a theme.

It’s important to note that just because a theme is marked as Accessibility Ready does not mean that it is ‘fully’ accessible. However, if a theme developer has gone to the trouble of tagging their theme as accessible, chances are they’ve done some work on this front. And if you do run into any issues let them know so they can update the theme for other users.

(Free) WordPress Plugin Solutions for Accessibility

WP Accessibility

Perhaps you are building your own WordPress theme, or maybe you want to use whatever theme you want. Have no fear. One of the amazing things about the world of WordPress is the availability of tens of thousands of plugins. Whenever you have a need for something, there is usually a plugin to fit the bill.

My personal pick is WP Accessibility, which comes with a variety of tools to help you seek out and destroy many of the common accessibility issues that you may come across using WordPress themes. It requires very little expert knowledge and a minimal amount of setup. Others you might want to checkout include:

That aside, there are a number of other useful tools and plugins available to help with a variety of different issues associated with website accessibility. This is a great page to check out for a comprehensive list of recommended development tools.

Testing Your Website Accessibility

Once you’ve created your website it might be a good idea to test your changes. There are many methods and softwares you can use to test accessibility but there are a couple that make testing easy.

WAVE web accessibility evaluation tool

One we already mention in this article is the WAVE web accessibility evaluation tool by WebAIM. This helpful tool displays any errors, alerts, features, structural elements, ARIA labels and contrast errors so you can adjust accordingly.

tota11y accessibility tool

Another tool for developers is Tota11y, an accessibility visualization toolkit developed by the Khan Academy. This JS file simply needs to be added to your site to enable the accessibility tool, which appears at a little glasses icon tab at the bottom of the screen. Just click to view accessible elements on your page as well as errors or violations you might want to fix.

Conclusion

Website accessibility is as important, if not more so, than simply directing traffic to your site. Now you can understand why it is essential to make sure that everyone that arrives at their destination can fully comprehend and navigate their way around all the incredibly entertaining and informative information that is your website.

So what are you waiting for? Take this opportunity to make your site more accessible right now!



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WordPress Website Pre-Launch Checklist – WPExplorer


Setting up and launching a website is a momentous affair for any business. A lot of time and effort goes into ensuring that our website is designed just right and fulfills our business needs.

Even so, there are a number of oversights that can play spoilsport on the launch day. You can minimize the chances of that happening by ticking off the boxes in this handy checklist for new WordPress websites.

Lets get started!

1. Check if Your Hosting Plan Supports WordPress

This one may seem obvious, but as this is a checklist, I’ll include it anyway. Make sure the server host supports WordPress. If possible, go with a host who offers a newer version of PHP and WordPress auto-installer.

Or even better, choose a managed WordPress hosting plan. We personally use (and highly recommend) WP Engine which has always been fast, offers tons of server space for all of our websites and they have a fantastic support team.

2. Optimize Permalinks for SEO

As of version 4.2, by default, WordPress generates permalink structures that contain the post name and are SEO friendly. On my WordPress install, the default permalink is a combination of the day and name. This may be suitable for some websites like newspapers and magazines, while it may not be suitable for others.

Checklist for new WordPress Websites - Permalinks

Right at the very beginning, every website must select the permalink structure that’s ideal for it’s SEO purposes. The Post Name option will work fine for most websites. Being short and pretty, it is SEO friendly as well. Bigger websites that need categories and tags to reflect in the URLs, may want to opt for the Custom Structure option.

Changing the permalinks sometime in the future is not a smart SEO move. Over time, you’re likely to build back links, and you stand to lose these links if you make changes to permalinks after a while. Else, you may have to add 301 redirects.

Save yourself some work by creating pretty permalinks right at the start. Head to Settings > Permalinks where you’re most likely to see the Plain Radio Button checked by default. Instead, select the option that you need and Save the changes.

While at it, make up your mind whether your URL must include www or not. Having some URLs with www and some without can confuse search engines.

3. Decide if Your Email Address Will Be Tagged to the Website

Way too often, we tag our email accounts to our websites, and both are serviced by the same hosting provider. Now, if you conduct your business primarily by email, you can see the disaster that’s waiting to happen. You’re not going to be able to access your email if your website is experiencing downtime.

You can easily avoid this situation by having different hosting providers for your website and for your email. This will also spare you the hassle of changing your email whenever you change hosts. Or signup for a G Suite account to create and manage custom email accounts for your business with Google.

So, if email is critical to your business and you want to play safe, you probably want to separate your mail id from your web hosting.

4. Check That Emails Are Correctly Displayed

Ensure the email addresses are all displayed correctly. You can correct any errors in Settings > General. Check all Admin ids including the plugin settings.

Sure, you can always correct emails at a later date. However, you may miss out on email traffic that’s likely to hit your inbox as a result of any offline buzz you create concerning the website launch. A quick run through all the email addresses can prevent this mishap.

5. Delete Dummy Content

Every WordPress installation comes with some dummy content such as Hello World or This is your first post, and Sample Page to boot. likely a Besides, we also import dummy content while building our website to test fonts, colors, spacing and more.

Dummy content

Now, imagine you hit the Launch button on D day and a Just Another WordPress Site flashes prominently on the screen.

To avoid this, take care to delete all dummy content before going live with the website. Remember, search engines take time to update, so any correction you make on your website may not have an immediate impact on search results.

6. Create an XML Sitemap

An XML Sitemap is a document file that lists all the URLs of your website. It is an easy navigation map that you submit to search engines to help them move within your website more intelligently and find appropriate content. While this does not directly affect the SEO rankings of the website, it helps search engines find and index your pages more easily.

Yoast XM settings

XML sitemaps are particularly important for new websites since these sites do not have any back links that can direct traffic towards them at the start. So make sure that you create an XML Sitemap and submit it to Google. This is not too difficult if you’ve installed the Yoast plugin. Enable the Advanced settings in the plugin to generate a sitemap for your website.

7. Improve Your Website Loading Speed

Slow websites are a big turn off for internet users, and you’re probably aware that there are many things you can do to speed up your website. One of the most important being, adding a caching plugin like WP Super Cache  or WP Rocket.

WP Rocket

Other speed improving measures are selecting a good hosting service, installing CDNs, enabling lazy loading and optimizing images.

8. Setup Website Backups

If you’re building the site on a local host or staging environment, make sure you migrate the database to the live server cleanly. Moving a site can get tricky, so be sure to have a backup of your site before attempting to move it. Check that the new site uses the live URLs in all the correct places.

Backup Buddy

My favorite plugin for backup is Backup Buddy. It not only helps to backup your website, but can also be used to restore and migrate your WordPress website.

9. Uncheck the Box for Search Engine Visibility

At the time you set up WordPress, you’ll find an option for search engine visibility in the Settings panel. We usually check this box while the website is under construction so that search engine will skip indexing the default WordPress content or any other work-in-progress content.

Settings option for search engine visibility

Just before launch, enable search engine visibility by visiting Dashboard > Settings > Reading and unchecking the “Discourage search engines from indexing this site”.

10. Run a Mobile-Friendly Test

Today, the traffic from mobile devices is starting to take over desktops. If you want to be in the radar of these hand held devices, you must ensure that your website is responsive. Most WordPress themes are responsive and so this should not pose any problem. You can cross check mobile phone visibility by running your website through Google’s mobile friendly Test.

Google Mobile Friendly test

With Google moving towards a mobile-first search strategy, this is an important check that you cannot afford to overlook.

Further, if you’re creating Accelerated Mobile Pages, you’ll need to adjust the URLs accordingly.

11. Setup Google Search Console

Immediately on launching your site, one of the first things you should do is to let Google know about the existence of your website. The Google Search Console helps to submit your sitemap directly to Google. You can test whether Google can successfully understand your content. You’ll also know about any security issues affecting your site.

Google Search Console

Access the Google Search Console, enter your website details and proceed as per directions. The Search Console also has many other features like HTML improvements, AMP version and search analytics which can help you enhance site visibility.

12. More to Think About

Well, here’s more that you might want to add and later cross off your list (depending on your specific website needs):

Yes, that sounds like a lot of work, but you’ll be glad you took the trouble. So, run through the checklist and have a wonderful launch day!



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