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15+ Best Portfolio WordPress Themes in 2018


With this ever evolving digital age, the need for making our presence known online is of paramount importance. Be it on Facebook, MySpace, Google+, Flickr, etc., we have to make our presence known to stand a chance in this digital age. Sometimes, social media does not suffice. Something more personal and custom is required to showcase your talent. Be it videography, photography, art, tattoos, interior or graphic design, or whatever it is that you’d want to showcase, your work would be in a class of its own with any of the best portfolio WordPress themes that we’ve collected from all around the internet.

Always keep your portfolio and your risk at your own individual comfortable sleeping point… -Mario Gabelli

If you’re looking for something functional as it is well designed, something light to load and simple so that it doesn’t overshadow your work itself (because you don’t want prospective clients to be more impressed by the design of your portfolio site than the actual creative works you’ve compiled) we think you’re going to find something you really love right here. We’ve compiled the most promising and (in our opinion) best portfolio WordPress themes top marketplaces have to offer. So, let’s carry on to the themes!

Disclaimer: WPExplorer is an affiliate for one or more products listed below. If you click a link and complete a purchase we could make a commission.

1. Total – Creative Multi-Purpose WordPress Theme

Total - Creative Multi-Purpose Premium WordPress Theme

Total is a true multi-purpose WordPress, and it’s a great fit for creating portfolios. It comes with 45+ unique demos and counting, with more added each month. Some of the theme features include: Infinite portfolio pages, premium Layer & Revolution sliders, parallax sections, 50+ builder modules and much more. Plus Total supports many popular plugins such as WPML, BuddyPress, WooCommerce, Gravity Forms, and Events Calendar Pro among others. Total is full of potential to create beautiful and modern portfolio, photography or other creative websites.

Boxed Folio Total Theme Demo

Total Boxed Porfolio WordPress Theme Demo

Looking for a boxed design? The Total theme Boxed Folio demo shows how you can use built-in options in the Total theme to create a custom portfolio layout. Plus the quick demo installer makes it even easier to get started with any of Total’s ready made demos.

TinyFolio Total Theme Demo

Total Tinyfolio Portfolio WordPress Theme Demo

With the Total theme you can create pretty much anything, have a look at the screenshot above of the Total theme TinyFolio demo you can see another great example of why the Total theme is one of the best portfolio WordPress themes you could choose for your wbesite.

2. Vong Portfolio – Responsive Portfolio WordPress Theme

Vong Portfolio - Responsive Portfolio WordPress Theme

If you’re in the market for a full features and responsive portfolio theme you can’t do better than the Vong Portfolio WordPress theme. This theme is super easy to use – just install and use the 1-click demo importer to get started. Then quickly build an elegant, professional and modern looking online porfolio using the included portfolio post style (with project details), tiled or masonry galleries, unique overlay navigation menu, color palette builder, the Layout Helper drag & drop grid builder and built-in social sharing.

The Vong Portfolio theme is also fully compatible with WooCommerce. This means that you can sell items from your portfolio, or offer your services for hire, right from your own website. Just install WooCommerce and add your goods – Vong has styled all of the store elements to seamlessly fit with the minimal, modern aesthetic of the theme.

Other notable theme features include helpful content shortcodes (map, slideshow, carousel, tabs, etc), retina support, localization files plus WPML compatibility, useful Team template to add contributors, advanced portfolio settings (orderby, 3 portfolio sizes, 21 animated filter effects, lightbox and more).

3. ePix Fullscreen Photography WordPress Theme

ePix - Fullscreen Photography WordPress Theme

A Photographer? A Graphic designer? An Illustrator? Then look no further! ePix is a minimalistic, beautiful and creative WordPress Photography Portfolio theme. This theme features responsive HTML5 code and high resolution graphics with retina display support. Some of its unique features include – a full-screen slider, stunning galleries, client login, advanced live Skin Editor, Visual Page Builder, parallax scrolling, boxed or full-width site layout and so much more.

ePix is fully compatible with the popular WooCommerce e-commerce plugin, making it perfect for self-employed artists or photographers. Just install the theme and plugin to start selling prints and stock through your own website. I don’t thin anyone would deny that ePix is one of the best portfolio WordPress themes and that it has become a standard against which other photography portfolio themes are judged.

4. ROUA Hipster Portfolio & Blogging WP Theme

ROUA - Hipster Portfolio & Blogging WP Theme

ROUA is a beautiful minimalistic and stylish WordPress portfolio theme well suited for freelancers and creative agencies. It is very light, yet will fully satisfy the needs of any graphic designer, illustrator, photographer, and is sure to create a trendy online presence. It is a simple yet fresh and easy-to-use theme suitable for any kind of creative work.

The theme is created using Bootstrap 3 front-end framework that makes it fully responsive and mobile first. The theme is extremely customizable and being based on the Redux Framework, it is very easy and convenient to do so. If you’re looking for something that is different and will make you stand out in the crowd, this is the theme you should go for!

5. Notio Deluxe Portfolio WordPress Theme

Notio - Deluxe Portfolio Theme

Notio is a clean, sophisticated and simple, yet beautiful WordPress portfolio theme. This theme is able to achieve high standards of expectation with its crafty and aesthetic design while being extremely easy to use. Some of its features include import theme options, images, sliders, posts, pages and widgets. It is ready for WordPress 4+, and it has WPML multilingual support for both your page text, and the sections of your WooCommerce store.

There are plenty of drag & drop elements, allowing for the hassle-free customization of your page. Notio is retina ready and boasts ultra-high resolution graphics. It truly is hard to describe just how good this theme looks, which is why it made it on our list of the best portfolio WordPress themes. The documentation of this theme is very extensive and informative, enough to turn any newbie into an experienced user. The same principle of adaptability applies to devices as well. Notio is entirely responsive, and it work well on tablets, smartphones, and desktop computers.

6. Pofo – Creative Portfolio & Blog WordPress Theme

Pofo - Creative Portfolio & Blog Premium WordPress Theme

Pofo is a modern, highly customizable, easy to use and fully responsive WordPress theme for agencies, creative teams, photographers, freelancers, bloggers, artists, corporate business and any other business niche to build portfolio, blog and eCommerce website with ease.

This beautiful and stylish theme offers lots of layouts for your online portfolio and blog. A great collection of over 150 pre-built elements, 25+ ready made homepages and 200+ sample demo pages speedup web building . Theme bundled is also bundled with the popular WPBakery Page Builder and Slider Revolution using Pofo custom shortcodes with extra options. You can also use the WordPress customizer to further design your perfect website. Pofo is coded with best standards and well documented, so your website loads fast and you can easily find answers to all your questions.

7. Kappe Full Screen Portfolio & Blog WP Theme

Kappe - Full Screen Portfolio & Blog WP Theme

Kappe is modern looking, with a responsive grid layout and a clean, almost minimal design WordPress portfolio theme. This theme is built exclusively for photography, although it can inculcate other showcases. It is completely customizable and features retina icons, unlimited sliders, colors, sidebars and 5+ custom widgets. It is translation ready, and comes with a completely revised detailed documentation. So, if you’re looking for something that will highlight your work rather than itself, then this is definitely worth a try.

8. GridStack Responsive Agency WordPress Theme

GridStack - Responsive Agency WordPress Theme

GridStack is a minima and modern WordPress portfolio theme made for showcasing photographs, illustrations, videos and other media. It is completely responsive and also supports AJAX dynamic loading. The theme also comes with a fixed panel on the left which helps you navigate seamlessly.

Some of its other features include full-screen viewing options and parallax scrolling effects, full-width gallery grids. This way your WordPress site looks great and uses the full screen available, no matter what size the screen actually is. The image grid is also responsive, rearranging as the viewing resolution shrinks or enlarges with smooth animated effects.

9. Milo Mobile Responsive & WooCommerce Ready Theme

Milo - Mobile responsive WooCommerce Ready WordPress Theme

Milo is a perfectly minimalistic and ultra-modern responsive WordPress portfolio theme. Milo is well-suited for photographers, artists, and illustrators with an appreciation for minimalism and a desire to display their online portfolio in a way that makes their content the focal point of every page. Milo features smart responsive design to display page layouts consistently well regardless of screen size or device type. Having a side panel helps immensely in navigation without compromising its lightness and sophistication. If you truly love minimalism, then this is the theme for you!

10. Reveal Responsive Porfolio WordPress Theme

Reveal Responsive Porfolio Premium WordPress Theme

Reveal is a beautiful, structured, sophisticated responsive WordPress portfolio theme. Reveal sports a minimal and clean styling paired with AJAX powered project viewing, make this theme perfect for showing off your best work. The theme comes with several unique layouts and an immense variety of customization options. What is unique about this theme is that you can now forget about zooming in or out on the photographs to meet your screen’s requirement. The theme automatically adjusts the images depending upon the screen. Literally ANY screen size! Need something new? You could really fall for this uniqueness.

11. Inspiro Fullscreen Gallery WordPress Theme

Inspiro Fullscreen Gallery Premium WordPress Theme

Inspiro is a clean and elegant responsive WordPress portfolio theme which focuses more on the photograph related creative media. It comes packed with great features like video support, full-screen slideshow, widgetized homepage, gallery module, dynamic homepage builder the Visual Customizer, and is based on the incredible ZOOM Framework.

No coding is required at any point, which is why Inspiro is friendly to webmasters of all skill levels. Without the requirement of coding and the availability of easy drag & drop, you’ll be able to build your website in absolutely no time and finally be able to showcase the talent to the world that you had kept to yourself for too long! Happy showcasing!

12. North Contemporary Portfolio WordPress Theme

North Portfolio WordPress Theme

The epitome of class and minimal beauty, the North Photography theme is a flexible, responsive WordPress portfolio theme. Its built with easy to use options for portfolio posts, featured images, galleries, sliders, footer widgets, and tons of unlimited color customization options from within the live WordPress.

The North theme includes portfolio customization options as well. Create tiled, square, mosaic or carousel type galleries. Add a sidebar or don’t – you can choose your page layout. Plus the theme is fully responsive, so your portfolio looks perfect on any device. When it comes to finding the best portfolio WordPress themes to crack into the big leagues, the North theme might be the needle in the haystack you were looking for!

13. Photographer Online Portfolio WordPress Theme

Photographer Online Portfolio WordPress Theme

The Photographer WordPress Theme is a premium theme developed in cooperation with professional photographer – so you can be sure that the theme contains every necessity for your photography needs. Nothing’s missing!

Only beautiful photos can sell a photographer’s services. With this theme you can present your work elegantly on your homepage. Display your photos as a full-size background or as a slider. Plus the theme is also perfect for your portfolio – just use the built-in features to add your gallery. For photographers looking to grow their customer base, the customizable contact form and WooCommerce plugin integration are great. This way you can sell any kind of services and products directly, such as photo sessions, photobooks or accessories for photographers.

14. Mane Modern Portfolio WordPress Theme for Creatives

Mane Modern Portfolio WordPress Theme for Creatives

The Mane WordPress theme is packed full of useful features for creating a creative portfolio online. The theme is bundled with the powerful Visual Composer page builder so you can create your own custom page layouts, complete with tons of built-in portfolio options. Add a portfolio list, grid, load more or infinite scroll, carousels, sliders and more. Plus the theme comes with lightbox on images and videos, social feed and icon integrations, parallax support, interactive links and more.

15. Kalium Professional Creative WordPress Theme

Kalium Professional Creative WordPress Theme

Kalium is a top selling creative theme and it’s easy to see why. The theme features tons of built-in options any creative professional would love. Easy page building options, layout designers, and pre-made sample demos make it easy to get started. After that use added options for typography, sliders, language translations, colors, portfolio hovers, Dribbble portfolio integration, and colors for code free styling. The Kalium theme is also retina ready and features adaptive images that stretch or crop to display at the perfect size on any device. It’s probably one of the best portfolio WordPress themes for businesses and agencies due to the flexibility.

16. Werkstatt Creative Portfolio WordPress Theme

Werkstatt Creative Portfolio WordPress Theme

To build a beautiful portfolio it really helps to start with a beautiful template. It just so happens that the Werkstatt theme is full of them. With more than 25+ unique portfolio and gallery style demos to choose from, a built-in drag and drop page builder interface, auto detect portfolio filter, customizable blog styles and more it’s a great choice for any creative to build their own website. Other great features include hundreds of Google fonts, 6 animated hover effects, WooCommerce compatibility, multiple menu layouts and even audio overlays.

Wrapping Up Our Picks for the Best Portfolio WordPress Themes

These are just some of our favorite themes that we think also happen to be some of the best portfolio WordPress themes on the web, but we know there are many more options out there for you. If you’ve found what your heart desired, do let us know. We’d love to hear which you think are the best portfolio WordPress themes and if you think they should have been included in our list.



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How to Make Your WordPress Site GDPR Compliant


GDPR (or the General Data Protection Regulation) is required as of May 25th, and with it comes a few new regulations most websites should adhere to even if they aren’t based on the EU. So if you haven’t already prepped your website here’s our quick and easy guide on how to make your WordPress site GDPR compliant in just 5 steps.

We’ll cover key points to help get you on your way to compliance, and fast. Why the rush? By choosing not to comply your business could face fines any where from 4% of your annual revenue well on up to €20mil (yikes). While the higher end of that spectrum is likely aimed at giants such as Amazon and Facebook, we always recommend paying by the rules. So here’s how you can have your WordPress site GDPR compliant asap.

IMPORTANT: We are not lawyers, we are simply sharing information about GDPR compliance and some of the steps we’ve used while updating our own website. Following the steps below does not guarantee you fully comply with GDPR requirements. Please consult a lawyer or GDPR consultant to be sure your website is in full compliance.

Step 1: Update to WordPress 4.9.6 (or higher)

This is the easy step, since WordPress 4.9.6 added tons of built-in privacy settings to WordPress core. Just by updating your core WordPress installation (which you should already be doing) you’re already setting yourself up for GPDR compliance success. There is a full laundry list of privacy features WordPress added in this update, but so far as GDPR compliance is concerned, here are a few key features you should checkout.

Comments Cookie Optin

WordPress Comments Cookie Optin

By default WordPress stores a cookie so users don’t have to retype their information when leaving a new comment on your site. Now there is an optin included on the comments form automatically – you don’t have to do anything except maybe style it if you don’t love how it looks (note: you won’t see this one on the WPExplorer blog since we disabled it – we don’t feel it’s necessary to store that information in your browser, so we chose to get rid of that cookie).

Data Export and Erase

WordPress Data Export and Erase

Under Tools there are two new items: Export personal data and Erase personal data. If your site collects user information (via subscriber accounts, customer profiles, etc) you can quickly and easily export a user’s information or completely erase them from your database at their request.

Policy Generator

WordPress Policy Generator

If you log into WordPress and go to Settings > Privacy you can either use your current privacy policy if you have one, or Create New Page to auto-generate a policy for your site.

WordPress Generated Privacy Policy

If you do use the generated policy, it will already include privacy information and disclosures related to WordPress core. But it also adds in helpful headings for other suggested information you should add for GDPR compliance (such as contact forms, analytics, contact information, data protection, breach disclosure, etc).

Step 2: Update Your Privacy Policy

Using the auto generated policy is a good start, but depending on the services and plugins you use on your website you’ll need to update your policy to include disclosures for all of the cookies and data being collected on your website.

Cookies Collected

Here are some of the most common:

  • Google Analytics and other tracking services
  • Google Adwords, Bing and other ad networks
  • Cloudflare and CDN services
  • Optins or pop-ups
  • Push notifications
  • Video players
  • Heatmaps
  • Shopping carts

To figure out what cookies your website is using (if you don’t already know) open a browser and clear your cookies (for example Firefox > History > Clear Recent History… then select “everything” and check the cookies option, or Chrome > Settings > Clear browsing data then select “All time” and check the cookies & other site data option). With your cookies clear, now visit your website homepage and blog, then inspect your website to open the developer tools. In Chrome select the “application” tab (in Firefox it’s under “storage”) then click on the Cookies option on the left side of the screen. From here you should be able to click on your website URL and view all of the cookies being set. These should all be disclosed in your privacy policy.

In addition to disclosing the cookies used on your website you should also include a section on how users can disable or delete cookies in their browser. In our own policy we choose to link to the following browser guides:

Contact Forms

Be sure to include a checkbox for consent on your contact forms if you have any. Lucky for you, popular contact forms plugins have already updated to make sure their forms are GDPR compliant. Here are a few form plugins that are already GDPR ready.

Contact Form 7 Plugin

If you’re using Contact Form 7, you can simply add an acceptance checkbox to your forms. Just add this before your submit button: [acceptance accept-this-1] Check here to consent to this website storing my information so they can respond. [/acceptance]

WPForms WordPress Plugin

The folks over at wpForms have added a GDPR agreement module you can add to all of your forms. First enable the “GDPR Enhancements” under the wpForms settings, then edit your exiting forms to insert the new “GDPR Agreement” checkbox. This way users can confirm that they consent to sending you their information.

So after you’ve picked a contact form plugin and added a consent confirmation for GDPR, you’ll also need to add a section to your privacy policy about the information you collect. This will depend on the fields you include in your forms – name, email, address, age, or anything else.

Newsletters

Similar to contact forms you need to confirm user consent for newsletters. This can be done with either a checkbox that a user has to click before they opt-in, or by requiring double-optin to your email list (if you don’t already).

If you use MailChimp double opt-in is easy to enable. Just log into your account, got to your Lists and click on the button for “Opt-in Settings.” From here just select the mailing lists you’d like to add a double opt-in to and then save. Easy!

With your consent confirmation method in place, just add a section that you do retain users’ email addresses for your newsletter to your privacy policy.

WooCommerce Data

If you have a store you’ll need to disclose how you are retaining customer data, for how long and what you do with it.

First, use WooCommerce’s built-in privacy features. After installing or updating the plugin go to the Settings > Accounts & Privacy section. Enable options for personal data retention, erasure, and privacy policy links.

Next, make sure to add appropriate disclosures to your privacy policy. You might want to consider sections on why your website would collect personal data, how it’s used (to improve your website to better serve users, to process transactions, for promotions, etc), how you protect user information and payment processing.

For more information on WooCommerce and GDPR please reference their guide.

Note: This is in no way a comprehensive list of disclosures – these are just a few, common examples.

Step 3: Add a Cookie Notice

We recently talked exclusively about the EU Cookie law and how to make your site cookie law compliant. To simplify – you must disclose your use of cookies, and not just in your privacy policy. You need to add a cookie disclosure and acceptance notice to the first page a user visits. Luckily, there are tons of plugins that can help. Here are a couple popular options.

Cookie Notice by dFactory Free WordPress Plugin

Cookie Notice by dFactory Free WordPress Plugin

The free Cookie Notice plugin is a great, easy way to add a simple cookie notification and optin to your website. The plugin includes settings to add a custom message, links for more information and a button to accept or refuse cookies. You can also add a cookie expiration (at which point users will have to optin again), define the script placement (header or footer) and add simple styling with the included options (text color, button style, position and animation).

WeePie Cookie Allow GDPR Cookie Consent Premium WordPress Plugin

WeePie Cookie Allow WordPress Plugin

Alternatively, you could give the premium WeePie Cookie Allow plugin a try. This more advanced cookie compliance plugin includes options to comply with the EU, UK, Dutch, Italian and German cookie laws. Choose a consent method (explicit via button or implied on scroll), style (box or bar plus design options) and add links to a privacy policy or site terms. This plugin is also multisite compatible and responsive ready for all device sizes.

Step 4: Make it Easy for Users to Request/Delete Their Info

We mentioned before that WordPress 4.9.6 added easy options for user data management, so if a user would like you to forward a copy of their information or delete their info completely you can. But in order for them to share their request you’ll first need to create a contact form or page for them to get in touch.

Depending on your website, it might make sense to install a contact form plugin to streamline contact submissions. This is likely a better option if you’re dealing with a website that has tons of users – like an online forum or membership site.

Ninja Forms Plugin

Some plugins like Ninja Forms have already built-in custom Export Data and Delete Data request form templates (check them our in Ninja Forms GDPR post). Just create your forms, then include links to them in your Privacy Policy.

But if your website is a basic blog or business site with no user accounts other than your own you should be okay just including a contact email in your privacy policy.

Step 5: Notifications for Policy Updates or Data Breach

The last part of GDPR that really stands out as important is policy update and data breach notifications. This comes into play if you offer user accounts on your website, collect customer information or if you maintain a newsletter.

Now that you’ve updated your privacy policy to comply with GDPR it’s a great time to notify users of your changes. If you use an email platform, blast out a quick privacy update notice.

Or if you’re using one of the best GDPR compliance WordPress plugins there’s likely a notification system already built-in so you can contact your site users. The best part is that with some of these plugin options you can easily automate policy update or data breach notifications, saving you some time.

Wrapping Up

Just to reiterate – we aren’t lawyers. This guide on how to make your WordPress site GDPR compliant is simply a collection of tips from our own personal experience researching and prepping for GDPR. Hopefully there were a few helpful tips in there for you, but really it’s just a starting point. We do highly recommend contacting a GDPR consultant or a lawyer to be sure your website is compliant especially if you’re located in the EU or if EU residents make up a significant portion of your website traffic.

Do you have any more questions on how to make your WordPress site GDPR compliant? Leave a comment and we’ll do our best to help. We’ll also update this guide as we learn more about GDPR – so if you have any other tips or key points please do share them.



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The Best GDPR Compliance WordPress Plugins


GDPR is here, but compliance doesn’t have to be hard. You can really speedup the process and feel confident that you’ve covered all your GDPR bases with these powerful GDPR compliance WordPress plugins.

What exactly do these GDPR compliance WordPress plugins do? Lots actually. They are an all encompassing solution that offers features and settings so your website meets all GDPR compliance requirements in a jiffy (including data access, privacy policy, cookie consent, data erasure, and data breach notifications). Alternatively there is a lot you can do to manually make your WordPress site GDPR compliant in which case you may just want a simple cookie consent notice which we already covered in detail in our guide on how to make your WordPress site EU Cookie Law compliant (so we’re not going to be including them in our roundup).

But if like many WordPress site owners you’ve put off GDPR compliance to the last minute, then our list of the best GDPR compliance WordPress plugins is for your. So let’s get into them!

IMPORTANT: We are not lawyers. Installing one of the following GDPR compliance WordPress plugins does not guarantee that your website fully complies with GDPR requirements. These are merely tools you can use to help with the process. Please consult a lawyer or GDPR consultant to be sure you are in full compliance.

Disclaimer: WPExplorer is an affiliate for one or more products listed below. If you click a link and complete a purchase we could make a commission.

1. WP GDPR Compliance Free WordPress Plugin

WP GDPR Compliance Free WordPress Plugin

If you’re looking for a fast and free way to help get your website GDPR ready, then the free WP GDPR Compliance plugin is for you. Simply install this gem to have access to features such as data storage timestamps, a privacy policy link, user data request page, consent checkboxes and more. The plugin is also fully compatible with the latest versions of Contact Form 7, Gravity Forms, WooCommerce and WordPress Comments so you can quickly add consent optins to them as well from the integration settings tab.

2. Ultimate GDPR Compliance Toolkit Premium WordPress Plugin

Ultimate GDPR Compliance Toolkit Premium WordPress Plugin

If you have a few bucks to spare we highly recommend the Ultimate GDPR Compliance Toolkit. For website owners who don’t have time to research GDPR compliance and start making changes on their own, this plugin provides a ton of options to get you going in the right direction. The plugin features a dedicated data access form (and data delete form), cookie consent optin form, pseudonymisation of user data stored for extra privacy, and automated data breach notifications. The plugin is compatible with popular WordPress plugins such as WooCommerce, MailChimp, Events Manager, Contact Form 7, Gravity Forms, Formidable Forms and BuddyPress so you can quickly check these plugins (if installed) for GDPR compliance.

3. GDPR Free WordPress Plugin

GDPR Free WordPress Plugin

This free GDPR plugin is intended to make GDPR compliance easier to manage for your DPO, data processor or site manager. Simply install the plugin, set the cookies your site is using, add consent options for cookies and personal data, enable users to request to access or delete their data, identify data being sent to third parties via your website, setup a data breach notification and more.

4. WordPress GDPR Premium WordPress Plugin

WordPress GDPR Premium WordPress Plugin

Instead of installing multiple plugins and manually making changes to attempt to manage GDPR updates on your own, you could give the WordPress GDPR All-in-One plugin a try. With features like a data request contact form, forget me form, data breach notice, cookie popup, and policy update notification. Best of all, this plugin works great with WPML, MailChimp, BuddyPress, Google Adwords & Analytics, Facebook, Contact Form 7 and WooCommerce.

5. The GDPR Framework Free WordPress Plugin

The GDPR Framework Free WordPress Plugin

Rather than dig into the legalize that is GDPR, you can turn to a plugin like the GDPR Framework to help make sense of the law. This plugin was created in conjunction with the Triniti IT Law Firm (which is based in Europe) to help WordPress site owners or managers. The plugin was built to allow users to easily access and delete their data, and to make quick work of aspects of compliance such as privacy policy creation. It’s important to note that as of today (May 24, 2018) the plugin does not yet include an option for cookie management but it is on the way.

6. GDPR Compliance Suite Premium WordPress Plugin

GDPR Compliance Suite Premium WordPress Plugin

The GDPR Compliance Suite provides easy tools to manage GDPR compliance on your website or blog, as well as for plugins you have installed (including BuddyPress, WooCommerce, WPML, Gravity Forms, Contact Form 7, Formidable Forms, Quform, Google Analytics, AddThis and more). Simply install the plugin and use the built-in settings for your cookies consent, user data access/erase requests, data breach notifications, site terms, privacy policy, disclaimer and even a contact DPO form. With 20 language translations already included, this is a great option for almost any site in just about any part of the world.

Wrapping Up

GDPR increases requirements for all websites, but implementing changes doesn’t have to be difficult. Thankfully the GDPR compliance WordPress plugins listed above are a quick and easy way to get started. We are not lawyers, so we can’t guarantee your site will be in 100% compliance (you should set up an appointment with a lawyer experience in this field or with a GDPR consultant) but in our opinion these plugins are a great place to start.

Do you have any other questions about GDPR compliance? Or about the GDPR compliance WordPress plugins we’ve listed? Let us know in the comments below.



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Introduction to HTTP/2 for WordPress


HTTP/2 is one of the most significant milestones to be introduced in the modern web. This article highlights the current state of HTTP and introduces the core benefits (and some non-technical concepts) of HTTP/2. We’ll also learn how to implement HTTP/2 for WordPress in 2018.

A Brief History of HTTP

HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol, which was created by Tim Berners Lee in the year 1991. Tim’s the man we have to thank for the World Wide Web. HTTP is one of the most ubiquitous and widely adopted application protocols on the Internet. But it’s not the only one.

Hold on for a second. I’ve highlighted the phrase application protocols. Why is that? You see, the Internet is actually a composition of four hierarchical layers of protocols. Each layer consists of a number of protocols and is responsible for a core function.

Geeking out for a bit, there are four layers in the Internet Protocol (IP) suite:

  1. Application layer
  2. Transport Layer
  3. Internet Layer
  4. Link Layer

Without going too much into details, the last three layers (i.e. Transport, Internet, and Link layers) are responsible for establishing a reliable connection for data to be exchanged.

The topmost layer is called the Application Layer, which serves all the applications in the Internet.

  • Viewing web pages is an application in the Internet – which is made possible by the HTTP protocol.
  • Email is another application in the Internet – made possible by the POP or IMAP protocol.

There are multiple protocols in the application layer in the Internet that makes things like YouTube Live Videos and Clash of Clans possible.

The Birth of HTTP/2

HTTP/2 for WordPress Beginnings

HTTP is the common language between clients and servers, enabling the modern web. From its simple beginnings as a single keyword and document path, it has become the protocol of choice not just for browsers, but for virtually every Internet-connected software and hardware application.

This begs the question – how often do we update this crucial piece of software? Well, as it turns out – not very often

In fact, the last time HTTP protocol got a update, was in the year 1997 – ten years before the first iPhone was launched! That was HTTP version 1.1 and 20 years later, it is still the most widely used HTTP version today!

Everything that happens in the Internet – from streaming cat videos, to live video chats delivered from the International Space Station and trillions of online transactions – happens over the technology that’s hasn’t had an update in over two decades. Over the years, we’ve made tremendous progress with creating new applications for the Internet. However, we did all of this by creating workarounds from the limitations of HTTP/1.1

I don’t mean to say that HTTP/1.1 is all bad. But it can sure use an update. And that’s why in 2015 Internet Engineering Task Force doubled-down on creating a better protocol for HTTP.

The result was a new protocol that seamlessly worked with all the stuff that was running on HTTP/1.1, while making some serious improvements in the underlying technology. This new protocol was called HTTP/2.

What Changed in HTTP/2?

A lot of things actually. But we’re not going to cover all of them here. Pretty sure you’ll be bored by then and even more sure that I won’t be able to explain the stuff in a non-geeky way. But when it comes to HTTP/2 for WordPress, here are a few key points.

Multiplexing

In HTTP/1.1, the server and the client needed to establish individual connections to request for resources. Let me explain with this beautiful illustration from UpWork:

HTTP/2 for WordPress: Multiplexing

Illustration of multiplexing by UpWork

A website is made up of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, images and other files. These files are collectively called resources. In this example, there’s a website made up of three resources – a JavaScript file, a CSS file and an image file.

We see that in HTTP/1.1, the browser requires three TCP connections with the server to request these resources. Why? Because in HTTP/1.1, each connection can only request for one request. A larger number of connections usually result in what can be best described as resource ‘traffic jams’ – which ultimately lead to a slow website experience.

HTTP/2 supports Multiplexing

Multiplexing is a technology that allows servers to send multiple files over a single connection. As a result, when the same website uses HTTP/2, all the three resources can be sent over a single connection. Consequently, load times and consumption of network resources would significantly reduce. In simpler terms, you’d be able to do more with less. So HTTP/2 for WordPress is a great way to (potentially) speed up your WordPress site.

Domain Sharding & Other Improvements

Remember how newer applications require ‘workarounds’ to overcome certain limitations of HTTP/1.1? Domain sharding is one such workaround. Let’s look at why domain sharding is required.

Typically, HTTP/1.1 limits the maximum number of open connections between a server (domain) and client. Most websites have multiple resources to be loaded in parallel. In an effort to make sites load faster, websites began to serve their resources from multiple sub-domains. This is called domain sharding.

HTTP/2 for WordPress: Domain Sharding

Illustration of domain sharding by UpWork

Now with HTTP/2, there’s no need of domain sharing. Not because HTTP/2 does not put a limit of the maximum number of open connections. But because HTTP/2 supports multiplexing. All the resources can be sent directly in one connection!

Thanks to multiplexing in HTTP/2, a lot of these ‘workarounds’ are no longer required. These include CSS sprites, inline images in CSS using data URIs, and concatenation of CSS and JavaScript. To put it in Smashing Magazine’s words:

HTTP requests are cheap in the world of HTTP/2. Organizing your assets during development according to the pages on which they will be used will be far better. You can then serve up only the code that the visitor needs. Downloading a lot of tiny style sheets won’t matter. You could also organize based on how frequently things change; assets with longevity could then be cared for longer.

Support for Binary Protocols

We know that computers talk in 0s and 1s, right? Well, that wasn’t how HTTP/1.x used to talk. HTTP1.x used to process text commands to complete request-response cycles.

HTTP/2 supports conversion from a text protocol to a binary protocol. This enables the server and client to talk in 0s and 1s instead of actual text – thereby significantly reducing the amount of time and energy required to complete the same request-response cycles.

HTTP/2 Server Push

This feature could get a bit complicated to explain, but I’ll try to keep it simple. In the classical HTTP/1.1 scenario, a server (or website) will only send resources to the client (browser) only when the client requests for the resource. This is the typical request-response scenario.

However, HTTP/2 introduces the concept of a server push, wherein for the very first time the server can send resources (or information) to the client, without having the client to explicitly request for the resource. This mechanism saves a request-respond round trip and reduces network latency.

Web developers can build applications that leverage Server Push and send additional resources/information to the client by anticipating requests. End result? Faster, smoother applications.

Header Compression

HTTP/2 uses something called the HPACK header compression when exchanging data between the client and the server. Before we get into why this is important, it’s time to learn a bit more on protocols.

A data unit in any protocol (including HTTP) is made up of three core components – header, payload and footer.

  1. Header: The Header contains information about the data unit
  2. Payload: This is the actual data this is being transported from the server to the client
  3. Footer: This is a sort of a checklist which ensures that the data unit was delivered successfully without any errors.

Header compression works is a pretty simple way – the server compresses the header information before transferring it to the client. Upon receiving the data unit (or packet), the client decompresses the header and displays (or uses) it to (or for) the user.

With media rich websites (like Netflix or the New York Times) becoming the norm today, HTTP/2’s HPACK header compression can save a lot of bandwidth when transferring data from the server to the client.

Improved TLS

TLS stands for Transport Layer Security, which is the bit of technology that encrypts connections between server and clients. We know that has HTTPS. That’s the technology that helps to prevent hackers from stealing our credit card information and other personal data during online transactions.

HTTP/2 works flawlessly with the existing TLS technology and brings in a ton of advanced features such as fewer TLS handshakes, low resource consumption on both client and server sides and improved capabilities in reusing existing web sessions while eliminating certain vulnerabilities associated with HTTP/1.x.

Is the World Ready for HTTP/2?

Well, that depends. Most modern browsers including Chrome and Firefox support the HTTP/2 protocol. If you have the resources to implement the HTTP/2 protocol – you should go ahead and do it.

Compatibility check for HTTP/2 among major web browsers.

CanIUse.com provides an up-to-date compatibility check for HTTP/2 among major web browsers

How to get started with HTTP/2 for WordPress?

HTTP/2 for WordPress

Implementing HTTP/2 on your WordPress host requires a lot of technical know-how. If you’re a developer or networks and managing servers are your thing – go for it.

The good news is that implementing  HTTP/2 for WordPress is made easy thanks to good WordPress hosting providers. Foe example, both WPEngine and Kinsta support HTTP/2 and have all the necessary fallbacks required to ensure site visitors who don’t support the new protocol, get a reliable, fully-optimized version of HTTP/1.1 experience.

From an internet user’s perspective, you won’t have to do anything other than download the latest version of your browser. If the website is compatible with HTTP/2, your browser will automatically communicate with it using the new protocol. However, HTTP/2 is fully backwards compatible, so websites still using the old HTTP will not be affected. That means you can just sit back and enjoy faster loading websites.

Wrapping Up HTTP/2 for WordPress

HTTP/2 for WordPress is a much-needed, revolutionary piece of update to one of the world’s foremost pieces of technology. However, it would take a lot of time for HTTP/2 to go mainstream – like HTTPS websites. That being said, the purpose of this article is to introduce our readers to this wonderful piece of technology that could potentially change the face of the World Wide Web.

Thoughts on HTTP/2 for WordPress? Questions? Let us know in the comments section below!



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Related Posts for WordPress by Bibblio Plugin Review


As a website owner, you really should do all you can to get visitors to stay longer on your website. It can go a long way in improving SEO and generating revenue. One way to prevent visitors from pressing the back button on the browser is to direct them to content that’s closely related to what they are already reading on your website. Better still you can use what you know about their browsing habits to work out content that they’re more likely to enjoy. That works for Netflix where recommendations bring in 80% of engagement time. There’s no reason why it shouldn’t work for you, which is where Related Posts for WordPress by Bibblio can help.

The Related Posts for WordPress by Bibblio uses artificial intelligence to find and display related posts based on your content and user data. And, because it uses machine learning to constantly improve its suggestions, the plugin is able to serve up highly optimized content. The algorithms constantly update, learning from audience behavior and improving as you add more content. Before you know it, you have a better shot at a loyal readership base.

What does all this mean in SEO terms? Over time, it can mean higher engagement, lesser bounce rate and better SERPs. You don’t have to take my word for it. Instead, you can test drive the free Bibblio plugin on your website. Installing the plugin and working with it is a breeze, but I’ll take you through the steps anyway a bit later.

How Related Posts for WordPress by Bibblio Works

When you activate the plugin, it automatically indexes all your posts and begins to analyze them straight away. It then serves up relevant content to readers based on a machine learning algorithm. As a result, the recommendations are highly relevant to readers, encouraging them to stay longer on your site.

BibblioL How it works

The recommendations module can display in a widget in the sidebar, footer or inline (with a shortcode), wherever you want them. The display can be customized using CSS to go with your website design, and your featured images will be displayed on the recommendations.

All the processing is done at the plugin server’s end, so there’s no dip in website speed. Depending on the volume of content, there may be an initial lag in recommendations. The latency may vary from a few minutes for smaller blogs to a few hours for content-heavy websites.

Where Bibblio really shines is in the way it treats every visit as an opportunity to learn and improve upon the recommendations.

What It Costs

Before we proceed, let’s get cost out of the way. Without paying up a single cent, you can receive up to 25000 recommendation calls per month. Each set of recommendations counts as one call.

Signup for Free

The free Related Posts for WordPress by Bibblio Starter plan is a great option for new bloggers, or if you want to try the service before diving into a premium plan.

Related Posts for WordPress by Bibblio Pricing Plans

From there, you’ll have the option to signup for a premium Self-Serve or Enterprise account. The Self-Serve plans use a scale-up price based on the number of recommendations you’ll use, starting with $19 for 50000 recommendations. For large websites, you can contact the Bibblio team to create a custom Enterprise plan to meet your needs.

Key Features

The other features that add to the attractiveness of Bibblio:

Key Features

  • It’s lightweight and fast, with all the pre-processing, caching and heavy-lifting handled by the plugin server. With no additional strain on your server, your site will remain fast
  • There are 150+ design combinations for the pre-made modules to hold recommendations that can be dropped in a widget
  • Modules are customizable and responsive
  • Multiple display options – in sidebar, footer or inline anywhere in your post
  • Supports thumbnails by automatically pulling in your featured image
  • Machine learning algorithms to offer highly relevant recommendations
  • You have control over how your previous or future posts are handled by the plugin. Besides, you can omit posts that you do not want to display
  • Because Bibblio’s technology understands your content, you no longer need to tag your posts extensively
  • Automatically scrapes your site for content and quickly provides recommendations
  • Allows you to add a tracking code so you can see what your users are clicking on
  • Monitors how effective your modules are with data on metrics such as the number of recommendations made, and click-through rates
  • Support for over a dozen languages
  • Reliable infrastructure with your data being stored with Amazon Web Services
  • Reliable customer support ensuring response time within 24 hours

How To Display Related Posts on your Website with Bibblio

Now that we know a good deal about Bibblio, let’s check how it plays out in action. To do this, I’m going to install the plugin on a test website that has some content related to travel and adventure.

Creating a Module

On installation, the plugin adds a Bibblio item to the dashboard from where you can access all the plugin features.

The first thing you need to do after installation is to create your Bibblio account. You’ll receive API keys, and once you enter them in the relevant field, you’re ready to start configuring the plugin.

Create Account

You can allow Related Posts for WordPress by Bibblio to access all your existing posts, as well as automatically add future posts. If you’ve got custom post types, that’ll show up here too.

Including posts

Now, you can go on to create a module and customize it. A module is a widget containing related posts that can sit on any part of your post or pages. There’s a choice of four layouts – Grid, Showcase, Column and Row. Over 150 readymade layout combinations are possible.

Module design

You can adjust the tile ratio and add special effects such as Reveal More on hover, Shine on hover, Show text separately below image or as overlay and more. Your post’s featured image will automatically appear in the background. In case you do not have a featured image for your post, by default the tiles will display a watermark in grayscale for each tile. This is also the place where you can add a tracking code to your module to keep track of its performance.

You can also customize your modules manually by overriding with your own CSS. When you’re happy with your choices, give your module a unique name and Save it.

Add Module

If you want to change the module in any way later, you can do that too by visiting Bibblio > Modules making modifications and updating the changes.

Additional Modules

Not only that, if there’s any particular post that you do not want to show up in Related Posts, you can exclude it by unchecking an option in the Editor.

Exclude Posts

Module Display

After creating the module, the easiest way to display it is using the built-in Bibblio setting to automatically feature a module after posts. You’ll find this setting on the main Bibblio > Modules page. Simple select the module you’d like to feature by default, give it a title and save. That’s it! Now all of your posts will display this module unless you specify a different one.

Bibblio Automatic Featured Modules

But you can also have a module display in multiple other locations on your website. If you wish, you can display the module within the body of your post. To do this, while in the Visual Editor, keep your cursor at the point in your post where you want the module to appear. Then click on the Insert Shortcode icon in the toolbar.

Related Posts for WordPress by Bibblio Shortcodes

On the popup window that appears, select the module that is to appear in the post and click ok.

To get the widget to appear in your sidebar or footer, head to Appearance > Widgets and add as required. Simply click to add, or drag and drop the widget to the location you want.

Widget options

Expand the widget area and fill in all the details, and Save the entries.

Related Posts for WordPress by Bibblio Widget

In a similar way, you can create as many modules as you like and add them wherever you want.

Bibblio can start displaying recommendations and be live in a matter of minutes for small blogs. But for very large catalogues, the full indexing may take several hours. In my case, I was able to see Bibblio in action in less than five minutes. This is how it displays on my test site.

Preview

Analytics

Bibblio sets it up so you’ll be able to keep count of the number of posts stored as well as the number of recommendations made right from your dashboard. But to delve deeper into clicks on modules and click-through rates, you need to visit your Bibblio dashboard.

Related Posts for WordPress by Bibblio Analytics Dashboard

There you’ll have access to a more detailed analysis both into the metadata generated by each post as well as the way in which each recommendation is faring. The easy CTR analysis can help you see how your recommendations are performing.

What Makes Bibblio a Standout

There are many things to like about Related Posts for WordPress by Bibblio, but what makes it a standout for me are:

  • The absolute ease with which I was able to set it up and get it to make recommendations in minutes
  • The recommendations are powered by artificial intelligence that’s attuned to reader preferences and learns from them constantly to come up with spot-on recommendations
  • All the content is stored on the plugin’s servers, the processing happens there and so does the caching. As a result, you get top class recommendations without any reduction in site speed or strain on server resources
  • Featured images are automatically used as thumbnails – if it happens that the post has no featured image, then the tiles display watermarks
  • Shortcodes and widgets to display tiles anywhere
  • Clear analytics that include CTRs
  • Saves you the trouble of tagging your posts extensively

Final Words on Related Posts for WordPress by Bibblio

There’s no doubt that the machine learning approach is highly effective in finding and serving up highly relevant recommendations to visitors. And there’s little doubt that the Related Posts for WordPress by Bibblio plugin does a great job of this. You need all the weapons in your armor to improve user engagement on your site. There is no doubt in my mind that it is one of the best related posts plugins for WordPress and that Bibblio can be a great addition to your website.

Download Bibblio for WordPress   Learn More About Bibblio

Have a question about Related Posts for WordPress by Bibblio that we didn’t cover in our guide? Just ask below. Or have you already installed Bibblio on your own website? Leave a note – we’d love to know how it’s worked out for you in the comments section.



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How to Customize Search Page Results in WordPress


When you search on a regular search engine like Google, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll come up with no results (unless you search for something utterly nonsensical, but even then…). However, this can happen more regularly than one would like when using a WordPress website’s internal search function.

Many of your website visitors will want to find more information about you, your business, or your products. If they hit a blank page after typing a query into your search bar, however, chances are they will leave your site. This is especially true if they are used to Google or a similar search engine.

Internet users expect certain features from the websites they visit. It’s important that you work with their expectations when it comes to searching. Having a custom search page that includes the items they’re used to will help keep them interested and engaged in your content.

In this post, we will discuss what search results pages are and why they’re important. Then, we’ll outline how to customize your WordPress results page to include the functionality your readers expect to see. Let’s get started!

What WordPress Search Results Pages Are (and Why They Matter)

WordPress Search Results Pages

Example of search results for “search”

When one of your readers types a word or phrase into the search box on your WordPress site, they’ll see a page listing all the content that matches their query. This is known as a search results page. Of course, an internal search results page is different from the results you would see on a search engine like Google. For one thing, the internal page will only list items that are available within your site, rather than across the entire internet.

An internal search results page is important for any site that features text content and is accessible through standard search engines. Generally, one of three things will happen when someone lands on your site from a basic internet search. They will immediately find what they are looking for, they will use your built-in search to find the information, or they will leave your site. Therefore, your chance of keeping readers on your site relies on their ability to find what they are looking for quickly. Enabling visitors to search and view results on your site is one of the easiest ways to keep them around for longer.

Why You Should Customize Your WordPress Search Results Pages

Visitors come to your website with certain expectations. While they aren’t looking for the same results they would get from Google, they may expect to see similar features. This can include suggested spellings, content suggestions based on their initial search, and more.

Having a customized search results page can keep your readers engaged with your site and its content, even when their searches come up dry. Plus, you’ll be providing your readers with everything they expect from a standard search engine. By mimicking popular search engines, you can also lower bounce rates on your site.

If done correctly, a custom results page offers several additional benefits. It can:

  • Help visitors find what they are looking for
  • Keep visitors on your site longer
  • Offer related information searchers may not have known they needed
  • Show some personality
  • Show you care about the little things, including being helpful

In the end, customizing your WordPress search results to more closely imitate a traditional search engine creates value for you and your visitors. Best of all, you can accomplish it easily through the use of plugins!

How to Customize Your WordPress Search Results Pages

The versatility of WordPress enables you to easily customize your search results. You can use code to alter the search.php file, for example, or you can use a plugin. We recommend the latter approach, as plugins are easier for most WordPress users to install and maintain.

There are several options you can use to customize your internal search results pages. While you could always dive into the search.php code (though this is best left to experienced users comfortable with PHP and CSS coding), there are several plugins you can use to implement simialr changes. Finding the functionality that works best will depend on you and your site. Small personal sites may benefit from free plugins, while larger sites might need a premium solution.

As always, we also recommend that you back up your WordPress site before making any updates or changes. Let’s dive in!

1. Include or Highlight the Search Term as a Reminder of the Original Search

Search Everything Plugin

One of the best tips I’ve ever heard about internal site search results pages is the closer you can make them look like standard Google search results pages, the better. One way to do this is to include the search term your visitor searched for at the top of the search results page. This is a simple technique to show visitors a search did occur even if it came up empty (and perhaps a typo was the culprit). It also enables your readers to double check that they entered the right phrase, and that they spelled the words correctly.

Search Everything is a free plugin that works with the default search function for WordPress. It will enable users to search every non-password protected page on your site. In addition, if offers functionality that makes it possible to highlight search terms on results pages, providing your users with valuable information.

Include the Search Term on Search Results Pages

To do this manually you will need to start by creating a child theme (if you’re not sure how, checkout our guide on how to create a WordPress child theme).

Next, create a search.php file in your brand new child theme and copy over the code from your old theme (you can find this by either opening up theme files on your server via FTP, or from your WordPress dashboard under Appearance > Editor > Search.php). Now you can replace the default title in your child theme’s search.php with the following:

<h1 class="search-title">
<?php echo $wp_query->found_posts; ?> <?php _e( 'Search Results Found For', 'locale' ); ?>: "<?php the_search_query(); ?>"
</h1>

This will display the title with the count of the posts found followed by the term that was searched. So it would look something like “15 Search Results Found For: My Search Query”.

Highlight the Search Term in Results

Highlight Search Terms Plugin

Another thing you might want to do is highlight the search term in the search results. This way, when visitors to your site are presented with search results, their search term is highlighted within the individual results. The plugin Highlight Search Terms serves this role well. It’s simple but can help direct your visitors more specifically to what they’re looking for.

2. Add Suggested Spellings in Case of Typos

Relevanssi Better Search Plugin

Thanks to the popularity of Google and other search engines, most site visitors expect to see spelling suggestions when they interact with your search function. Adding this feature to your results pages improves the user experience, by helping them find what they’re looking for even if they don’t know how to spell it.

With over 100,000 active installs, Relevanssi is one of the most popular WordPress plugins for search. While Search Everything works with WordPress’s default functionality, Relevanssi replaces the search feature altogether. Its free services are perfect for small or personal sites, while the premium version offers amazing functionality for large and multi-site managers. In addition to its suggested spelling feature, this plugin provides an array of options, including the ability to search tags, comments, and categories.

3. Add Suggested Pages to Maintain Interest in Your Site

Search & Filter WPSOLR Plugin

One of the best ways to use your results pages, aside from providing the searched-for information, is to serve up content that is similar to what users are looking for. If you have ever searched Amazon for a product, you’ve probably seen suggestions for other products based on that search. This method of putting valuable content in front of visitors can boost the amount of time they spend on your site. And by suggesting pages for readers to go to – even if it’s not related to their search query – you can do a lot toward decreasing your bounce rate.

If you are looking for search functionality that behaves the way Amazon or eBay does, we recommend the WPSOLR plugin. It will enable you to present related content to searchers, and much more. WPSOLR is another freemium plugin, and provides enterprise-level features that only improve with the purchase of its premium versions. While this plugin can work for most sites, you may want to consider the premium version for e-commerce or large sites in particular.

Better Search Plugin

Another simple option for this is the Better Search plugin. Once installed, you can insert a heat map for your most popular searches in the form of a widget. This will ensure visitors will be presented with plenty of options for where to go next.

4. Add a Search Box

Add Search To Menu Plugin

Another way to keep people on your site and engaged in their searches is to add a search box on the search results page if there isn’t one already included in your theme. This is especially helpful if no results are returned and you wish to prompt users to try a different search query. Ans easy way to add a search box is with the free Add Search to Menu plugin – just install and use the plugin settings to customize your search form and results.

You can also add a search box directly to any page (via your child theme, as mentioned above) by using the core WordPress function “get_search_form();”.

<?php get_search_form( true ); ?>

This will display the searchform as defined by the searchform.php theme file or if one doesn’t exist WordPress will output HTML for a standard search form. You can learn more at the CODEX.

This will make it so your visitors have no excuses for getting off track on your site. When you’re always steering them back in the right direction, you ensure you’re doing your part to enhance people’s experience on your site. And I can assure you right now, that kind of attention to detail doesn’t go unnoticed or unappreciated.

5. Ajax Your Search

Ajax Search Lite Plugin

The last option we want to mention today to keep readers engaged with your site is to add Ajax search results so your readers can use a “live” search. The free Ajax Search Lite plugin allows users to search your site with results updated as they type. The plugin includes added options for category filter, Google autocomplete and keyword suggestions.

For more options consider upgrading to Ajax Search Pro. The premium version of the plugin adds support for bbPress, BuddyPress, WooCommerce and JigoShop so users can search all of your custom post types. Plus there are features for caching, custom fields, 100+ design themes, 4 layouts and lots more.

Conclusion

While many WordPress users think to add the search widget to the sidebar of their sites, a lot forget about what the output of such searches will be. And that’s a major oversight.

You want to make sure every single page of your site is working hard for you – even the search results pages. While most readers may be interested in your home page or core offerings, they probably come to your site looking for something specific. Although your site is likely not a search engine, it’s best to provide the help and functionality visitors are accustom to. You never know how a single page can affect individual users. Present the right visitor with the right information at the right time and you stand to not only keep that visitor on your site for longer but also turn them into a loyal customer.

Have you done any customization on your search results pages? If so, what’s worked best for you? What have you found to be the most effective addition? As always, let me know in the comments.



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Changing the face of Web Design


In this Elementor review, we will be taking a look at this well-known page builder plugin, and its recent release of Elementor 2.0. Whether you are looking to customize a couple of web pages, or design a whole new site, the new version of Elementor 2.0 has the tools and features to help you realize your creative vision.

Read on to find out more about what Elementor has to offer, and to gain an in-depth understanding of the newest features released with Elementor 2.0. We will also consider the benefits of upgrading to Elementor Pro. And the advanced features that this premium extension provides. Let’s get started…

An Introduction to Elementor

Elementor

For those of you who haven’t used Elementor and know little about the plugin, we will start with a quick introduction to this solution and consider what it has to offer.

Elementor is a popular WordPress page builder plugin that amazingly only launched just under two years ago. In that time, Elementor has become a serious competitor in the world of page builder plugins. It provides an impressive experience and extensive features, resulting in a constantly growing customer base.

Elementor supports both a free and premium version of their plugin. Elementor Pro is an extension of the free plugin, and provides advanced tools to improve workflow and increase conversions and sales. We will discuss the Pro version of Elementor further on in the article. But for now, let’s check out what the free core Elementor version offers…

Elementor Features

Elementor incorporates an intuitive drag and drop editor, that enables users to easily design or customize any page or custom post type in WordPress. And all without having to touch a line of code. All customizations can be made on the front end of your site, so you can see your page designs take place in real time.

The Elementor template library contains over 300 beautifully crafted templates to select from, created to cater for any industry and niche. Once a template has been chosen, the Elementor editor gives you vast control over every styling detail. Templates and page designs can be saved and reused, as well as exported to use on other websites.

Elementor also provides a complete package of widgets for free. These widgets work inside the live page builder, allowing you to add endless design possibilities to your pages. Here are just a few of the widgets you can use on your pages…

  • Image Gallery.
  • Image Carousel.
  • Google Maps.
  • Buttons.
  • Video.

Third party widgets and plugins can also be embedded inside the Elementor page builder. Therefore, you can surround yourself with all your favorite design elements.

Here are some of the other top features that Elementor offers…

  • Total Customization Over Layout.
  • Video Backgrounds.
  • Inline Editing.
  • Image and Gallery Lightbox.
  • 800+ Google Fonts.
  • Landing Page Design.
  • Mobile Editing.
  • Developer Friendly.

Elementor also comes with extensive support, including video tutorials and in-depth articles. These teach step-by-step how to use this plugin to create stunning websites.

So now we know a little about Elementor and some of the features it incorporates in its free core version. Let’s next look at the recent release of Elementor 2.0, and find out what tools and functionalities have been added to this already feature-rich plugin.

The New Features of Elementor 2.0

In February, the Elementor team began to roll out Elementor 2.0. With each new feature release, they are hoping to solve the problems that people using WordPress come up against daily when trying to design and customize websites. So what features have been introduced, and how will they improve the Elementor experience?

Elementor Blocks

Blocks

One of the first features to be released under Elementor 2.0 was Elementor Blocks. This totally free feature provides a flexible way to build pages quickly and efficiently.

Blocks are essentially pre-designed sections that, combined, can create complete pages. Browse and filter through the different available design options, and then add the appropriate blocks to each page of your website with just a click of a button. This gives you more flexibility than page templates, but still enough design support to save you time and ensure you produce a user-friendly, professional and appealing website.

Each block can be customized, enabling you to transform the content, and quickly turn your thoughts and ideas into a website. And blocks come pre-built with widget and layout settings, so you can simply concentrate on the design process, and not worry about the technical aspects of building a page. Blocks can then be saved and reused in different pages.

Picking and choosing blocks to create a page is not just a fun way to design. Blocks will streamline your workflow and manage your creation process, resulting in finished, high-end pages, in no time at all.

Currently, in the blocks library, there are 253 different block types available, spread across 15 categories, including Price, Team, Testimonials, Portfolio, Call to Action and Subscribe. The Elementor team will also be adding to this library over time, ensuring that whatever your project, there will be blocks to fit.

Elementor Developer API

Developer API

In April, Elementor announced its new Developers Center for Elementor developers. This is a new site, and a truly impressive resource – one that will have a major impact on any WordPress developer who wants to extend Elementor, or integrate it into a product.

The Developers Center has two sections…

Let’s take a look at both of these in more detail…

Elementor Developer Resources

The Developers Resources Center contains step-by-step guides, tutorials, and code examples, explaining how developers can create their own Elementor extensions or custom solutions for clients. There is both information for plugin and theme developers, as well as information on recent WordPress coding standards and latest best practices.

Elementor Code Reference

Using the Elementor Code Reference documents you can quickly learn what each Elementor function, class, method and hook does. Here you can easily search the Code Reference to find specific code, which is automatically updated with each new Elementor version release. The Elementor team also plan to add snippets and code examples to the Code Reference in the foreseeable future.

If you are a WordPress plugin or theme developer, the Elementor Developers Center is an invaluable resource, and well worth checking out.

Elementor Pro 2.0 – Theme Builder

Theme Builder Elementor 2.0

The release of Elementor Pro 2.0 has seen this page builder plugin upgraded to include theme builder capabilities. Up until now, it has not been possible to customize certain areas of your theme with the Elementor Pro editor, like the header, footer, single post, and archive.

Elementor Pro Theme Builder has expanded the concept of templates, and has introduced new template types for headers, footers, and other areas of your site. This makes it possible to now design and customize every part of your website, not just the content areas, using the Elementor drag and drop editor. So say goodbye to code!

The Elementor Pro Theme Builder works on any WordPress theme and enables you to build every aspect of your website visually, on the front end of your website. By using dynamic templates, you can create the framework for your content and then apply it across your site. Templates then get filled with dynamic content from your website with just one click.

Elementor Pro 2.0 also offers 25+ header and footer blocks, as well as a sticky header feature to help you get started. No longer will you be restricted by your theme’s header and footer. You can now use the Elementor blocks to create stylish and eye-catching designs that work with the rest of your website’s branding.

Elementor Pro 2.0 – Features Still to Come

Still to Come

As we mentioned earlier, Elementor 2.0 is being rolled out in stages. And for Elementor Pro 2.0, there are still features to come.

WooCommerce integration should be with us shortly, giving powerful design control over your WooCommerce store, product pages, and other eCommerce elements, through the Elementor Editor. Widgets will include…

  • WooCommerce Products Widget – Display and filter your WooCommerce products on your site.
  • WooCommerce Categories Widget – Choose which product categories are shown.
  • Woo Elements Widget – Add eCommerce pages to your site, including a cart page, single product page, checkout page and more.
  • Woo Add to Cart Widget – Display an ‘Add to Cart’ button.

These integrations will make Elementor the perfect tool for designing an eCommerce site to your exact specifications.

Also still to come is extensive support for Advanced Custom Fields (ACF) and Toolset. With this functionality, you will be able to create content fields in ACF or Toolset, and then visually incorporate them in any page. Which for developers out there, may well be a game changer.

Should You Upgrade to Elementor Pro?

Elementor Pro

After reading about the remarkable Theme Builder that the Elementor team have incorporated into the Elementor Pro extension, as well as the WooCommerce, ACF and Toolset integrations that are around the corner, you may well be wondering if you should upgrade to Pro.

So let’s take a quick look what else Elementor Pro has to offer…

  • Pro Templates – Choose from a selection of high-end pro templates.
  • Forms – Design and add contact forms, subscription forms, login forms, and more.
  • Media – Showcase images and video using a Carousel or Slides widget.
  • Custom CSS – Add your own code and see it in action on the live editor.
  • Integrations – Easily integrate with MailChimp, Facebook SDK, reCAPTCHA, and Adobe TypeKit, to name a few.
  • Social Media – Add share buttons, social icons, Facebook integrations, and more.

Elementor Pro users can also benefit from 24/7 customer support. Quickly get help with any issues, and answers to any questions, that may arise. Evidently, Elementor Pro is a remarkable tool, and if you are serious about the quality of your website’s design, upgrading to Pro should be on your radar.

Final Thoughts on Elementor 2.0

As you can see, Elementor 2.0 boasts some impressive new features. From the Elementor Blocks and Developer API, to the fantastic new Elementor Pro 2.0 Theme Builder and advanced integrations, Elementor is changing the face of web design. That the Elementor plugin is a must-have for anyone designing or customizing a website goes without saying – but will you choose the free or premium version?

Any questions on the new Elementor 2.0 releases? Please feel free to ask away in the comments below…



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Mobile-first Indexing for WordPress – What It Is and How to Prepare for It


Most of us are aware that search engines like Yahoo and Google maintain a massive index running to millions of pages. This makes it possible for them to find and serve up content that’s relevant to a search query. Needless to say, if you want your webpages to find a place in the search results, you need to first ensure that they are included in the index. But going forward you’ll also need to consider mobile-first indexing for WordPress.

Search engines work by using complex algorithms that are constantly evolving. Google for one, is continuously working on improving their search algorithm to offer users the best search experience possible. As a part of this process, Google is gradually moving towards a mobile-first index on a gradual basis. But don’t worry – there are a few easy steps you can follow to prep for mobile-first indexing for WordPress.

What is Mobile First Indexing?

Mobile-first Indexing for WordPress: What is it?

Up until recently, the majority of folks searched for content on the internet from their desktops. So naturally Google’s search algorithms were (and still are) geared to handling these search queries from desktops. The search results from the ‘desktop index’ was then adjusted for mobile ranking factors. Irrespective of whether a search starts on a desktop or mobile, the Googlebot would look within this ‘desktop index’ to find the relevant webpages.

Google is now changing their approach, it will start to search the web from a mobile-first browser view, which means you need to think about mobile-first indexing for WordPress.

Google will continue to maintain a single index for all websites. At the same time, it will continue to fine-tune its algorithms to rely more on mobile content to

  • rank pages from that site
  • to understand structured data
  • to show snippets from that page in results.

This search method will be used for searches initiated even from desktops.

To find out if a site is ready for inclusion in the mobile-first index, Google uses “classifiers”. Classifiers determine how equal or comparable a mobile vs desktop site is in terms of content, links, schema, multimedia, etc.

Why the Shift to a Mobile-first Index?

Google’s change in approach is in response to the significant shift towards searches from mobile devices. The present search method does not offer an ideal user experience for mobile users. Mainly this is because the desktop and mobile versions of many websites do not have matching content. Clicking on a search result from a mobile device may take users to a page that does not exist on the mobile version. Or the content may not be viewable on mobiles. Or, you maybe using a WordPress theme that’s not responsive. This results in a bad user experience, something Google is working hard to avoid.

Google is keen to make the internet a mobile-friendly place, and mobile-first indexing is another step in that direction. In fact, Google states that some sites are already on this index, with more to follow.

Impact of Mobile-first Indexing

Mobile-first Indexing for WordPress: Impact

Let’s make one thing clear – Google will crawl the desktop version of your WordPress even if you do not have a mobile site. The ongoing shift simply means that Google will primarily look at the mobile content for determining rankings in the future. In practical terms this means when it comes to mobile-first indexing for WordPress:

  • The mobile version of your WordPress site becomes the primary version of your site (at least for search engines). Google will first search the mobile version, and will fall back to the desktop version only when a mobile version is not available. Therefore, a site with a better mobile ranking will appear higher than one with lesser mobile ranking, even when a search is initiated on a desktop.
  • The mobile version of your WordPress will begin to have more influence on the branding of your website.
  • Webmasters will notice an increase in crawling by Smartphone Googlebot. Consequently, the snippets that appear in the search results will be from your mobile pages. Same will be the case with content on Google cache pages.
  • This really leaves you with no option but to ensure that your WordPress is mobile friendly. In fact, depending on the audience you cater to, a mobile-first approach maybe the better alternative. Don’t forget, Google already considers mobile friendliness of your website as a ranking factor.

Prepping Your WordPress Site for Mobile-first Index

The one thing that’s nice with Google is that whenever there’s a major change in search algorithms, they tell you how to get ready for it.

1. Responsive Design

If you are already using a responsive WordPress theme or if you have a dynamic serving site in place, you really do not have to do anything more for this part of mobile-first indexing for WordPress. You’ll just need to ensure that the content and markup is the same on both versions of your WordPress site.

A Responsive web design (RWD) is a setup where the server always sends the same HTML code to all devices and CSS is used to alter the rendering of the page on the device.

A Dynamic serving is a setup where the server responds with different HTML (and CSS) on the same URL depending on the user agent requesting the page.

Mobile-first Indexing for WordPress: Implement mobile sites

2. Review Your Content

If it happens that the primary content and markup are different, then ensure that the structured markup is the same for both desktop and mobile versions. Often, webmasters remove sizable chunks of structured data from the mobile website. This will no longer qualify as good practice. You’ll need to add it all back. Also update the URLs within the structured data on the mobile pages.

To check whether content is the same on all versions, you can use the Structured Data Test Tool. Enter the URLs of both versions of your WordPress and compare the output to check if content is the same in both versions. Google also advises that you skip adding huge amounts of markup that’s not relevant to the document’s content.

Mobile-first Indexing for WordPress: Structured data test tool

Next, visit robots.txt.tester to check whether your robots.txt file blocks Google web crawlers from specific URLs on your site. This tool verifies that your mobile version is accessible to Googlebot.

3. Metadata

Metadata provides hints to search engines about the content on a page. Therefore, it should be present on both versions of the site. Simple precautions like similar titles and meta descriptions on all pages across both versions of your WordPress can go a long way.

4. Internal Links

There’s no need to make changes for interlinking with separate mobile URLs (m.-dot sites). If you’re using separate mobile URLs, retain the existing link rel=canonical, and then link rel=alternate elements between the two versions.

5. Languages

If your WordPress is multilingual, check hreflang links on separate mobile URLs. You’ll need to link between mobile and desktop URLs separately.

6. Hosting

If the mobile version of your WordPress website is on a separate host, make sure that the host servers can handle a possible increase in crawl rate.

7. Verification

It’s not enough to verify your desktop website alone on the Google search console for mobile-first indexing for WordPress. You’ll need to submit your mobile version of your WordPress as well to Google search console for verification.

8. Focus on SEO

Keep in mind that Google will continue to index your desktop version, even while checking it out from a mobile user’s point of view. So continue with top notch content and SEO practices.

9. Mobile Friendliness

It’s vital to make your WordPress mobile-friendly to ensure you’re ready for mobile-first indexing for WordPress. Google considers a website mobile-friendly, when a mobile user can load all parts of content on your page, read the text without requiring to zoom or pinch, and can tap any button easily.

Make sure that your mobile version passes the mobile friendliness test. It’s important to note here that Google now accepts content that’s hidden behind tabs and accordions to pack in more content. If you’re using pop-ups on mobiles, you need to know that pop-ups can affect SEO.

Final Words on Mobile-first Indexing for WordPress

No doubt the adoption of mobile-first indexing for WordPress (and all websites for that matter) marks a major change for website owners and SEO professionals. But there is no immediate need for concern, especially not with this list of tips to prepare for mobile-first indexing for WordPress.

The shift to mobile-first index is expected to be gradual, allowing time for websites to adapt to the new approach. Google will evaluate each site independently to check if it’s ready for the shift, moving it when it’s ready. While there’s no timeline in place to complete the process, it’s a wake-up call for all websites to initiate processes to rank high on the mobile-first index.

Do you have any questions about mobile-first indexing for WordPress? How you can get your website ready? Or any other tips you think we should add? Sound off in the comments below.



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The 12 Best WordPress Contact Form Plugins


One of the most important elements of any website is a way for customers or clients to be able to contact you quickly and easily. The most common way of doing this is via a contact form located on a dedicated contact page or placed in a sidebar or footer visible from all pages.

Not all contact forms are alike, so an easy way to create and customize them is needed. Fortunately, WordPress plugins make it easy to create contact forms, place them on your website and collect information received from customers who fill them out.

This article will take a look at the best plugins available we’ve found to create a contact form for your website, and what makes each one stand out.

Disclaimer: WPExplorer is an affiliate for one or more products listed below. If you click a link and complete a purchase we could make a commission.

1. HappyForms Free WordPress Plugin

HappyForms Free WordPress Plugin

HappyForms is a powerful and FREE form builder plugin for WordPress. The plugin uses the familiar customizer interface it’s easy for anyone to build a custom contact, appointment, feedback or other form without having to figure out HTML.

Simply install the plugin, give your form a name, choose the elements you want in your form (such as links, short & long text, email address, phone number, radio buttons, checkboxes, urls and more), add place holder text, set the width and even make fields required. Make sure you don’t forget to include your email (for replies) and use the form styling options for custom colors and fonts. When you’re done just save your form and insert using the built-in form inserter when creating your posts, or the custom widget to add your forms to sidebars. It’s one of the quickest ways to add forms to any WordPress site.

2. Contact Form 7 Free WordPress Plugin

Contact Form 7 Plugin

Contact Form 7 is one of the most popular contact form plugins available due to its simplicity.

The default form is more than enough for most people, but you can create and manage additional forms as well. Each form and its email notifications can be easily customized using simple markup. Features like Ajax submission, CAPTCHA and spam filtering help to make this plugin very powerful. There are also lots of extensions available to add even more functionality.

Plus, if you need help with how to get started with Contact Form 7 just checkout our guide. We walk through each step so you can build your forms fast.

3. Jetpack Forms Free WordPress Plugin

JetPack Plugin

Jetpack is not a standalone contact form plugin, but instead a collection of plugins from Automattic that provide WordPress.com functionality to self-hosted WordPress sites. It is widely used for many of the features it includes, and the contact forms integrate well with other plugins like Akismet.

With Jetpack’s contact form functionality, you can add a form to any post or page from the post editor and customize it using the built-in form builder.

4. WPForms Form Builder Lite Free WordPress Plugin

WPForms WordPress Plugin

WPForms is a powerful drag and drop form builder for WordPress. This plugin makes creating forms easy. Just choose the form sections you want to include, then drag and drop them into place. Plus there are included pre-built templates you can use to get started. While there are tons of options built-in (text fields, radio buttons, file uploads etc) you can always add more features your forms with HTML or custom CSS. Learn more about WPForms on their website.

5. Gravity Forms Premium WordPress Plugin

Gravity Forms Plugin

Gravity Forms is a very popular premium form builder that enables advanced form functionality.

Starting at $59, it provides a drag-and-drop form builder, multi-page forms and conditional logic, among other features. Higher license levels include add-ons for email marketing integration, payments and automation.

Gravity Forms goes beyond simple forms into custom application-like functionality. It’s pretty sweet.

6. Ninja Forms Free & Pro WordPress Plugin

Ninja Forms Plugin

Ninja Forms – my personal favorite – is a powerful drag-and-drop form builder that places no limitations on the number of fields, emails, actions or submissions. You can save fields and their settings to reuse in other forms, and import and export both forms and fields. Four anti-spam options are available to protect you from pesky submissions too.

Over 40 add-ons are available to add advanced functionality like email marketing integration and automation.

7. Formidable Forms Free & Pro WordPress Plugin

Formidable Forms – Form Builder for WordPress

Create and customize WordPress forms the fast and simple way with Formidable Forms’ simple drag-and-drop interface (and a visual form styler in version 2.0). Built-in spam protection and custom HTML and CSS make this form builder a powerful option.

The Pro version (starting at $49) adds more field types and professional features like field calculations, conditional logic and data display via charts. Older complaints about the lack of functionality have been resolved with their recent updates, so you can feel comfortable with even the free version.

8. Visual Form Builder Free WordPress Plugin

Visual Form Builder

Visual Form Builder makes it very easy to create fully functional contact forms in minutes with no code. Fields can be added with a single click, and the drag-and-drop builder enables quick reordering. Form entries are automatically stored and can be exported to a CSV file. Custom CSS and multiple layout options mean you can customize the forms to match your site. A pro version is available for added functionality like multiple file uploads and an email designer, but for most users free works great.

9. Pirate Forms Free WordPress Plugin

Pirate Forms Free WordPress Plugin

Pirate Forms was forked from the Proper Contact Form and provides an easy-to-use interface for creating customizable contact forms. Forms can be added to posts and pages using either a shortcode or widget. Built-in reCAPTCHA helps to eliminate form submission spam and the SMTP option helps to ensure you receive form submissions via email. All email addresses within contact form submissions are stored in a special contact database, which may be handy.

The above said, despite having over 40,000 active installs, Pirate Forms has only three reviews, so you may want to tread carefully.

10. QuForm Premium WordPress Plugin

QuForm plugin logo

Quform is a premium form builder plugin ($29) that enables you to create simple and complex forms using the one-click builder and drag-and-drop functionality.

It has a unique form theming system so you can use the included themes, build your own or import other themes designs. Along with the large number of layout options, you can completely customize the look and feel of your forms.

11. Form Craft Form Builder Free & Pro WordPress Plugin

FormCraft – Form Builder for WordPress

Form Craft Form Builder is a drag-and-drop form builder for creating and embedding forms and tracking submissions.

The WYSIWYG form builder is fast, lightweight and produces stylish responsive forms. Form templates can be exported and imported enabling you to share your custom designed forms. The premium version ($39) adds functionality such as conditional logic, multiple file uploads, email marketing integration and form analytics.

12. Simple Basic Contact Form Free WordPress Plugin

Simple Basic Contact Form

Simple Basic Contact Form is a no frills contact form plugin that is easy to setup and customize.

Despite its minimal presentation, it is very flexible. You can use shortcodes or template tags to display the form anywhere. It has built-in spam protection via CAPTCHA and a firewall, plain text email notifications and is fully customizable from its Settings page or using custom CSS.

Conclusion

An easy-to-use contact form can help you connect with your website visitors, but you need to be able to easily manage the form and its submissions.

In the list above, we’ve shared a wide range of plugins for contact forms that suit different scenarios. You should be able to find a contact form plugin that meets your needs, so if you don’t have one, put a form on your site today to start hearing from your visitors!

Do you use any of these plugins on your website? We would love to hear your experiences with the above contact form plugins, so share in the comments below! We know that there are many more plugins we have not covered too, so be sure to let us know any you think we may have missed.



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Simple & Impressive WordPress Optin Forms


Whether you’re blogging, setting up an eCommerce store, or configuring a web presence for your small business, most experienced marketers will tell you how important an email optin form is for your success. However, there are so many plugins to choose from, and some are either too expensive or don’t have the features you need. MailOptin provides an excellent solution, seeing as it has a free plan, along with several affordable premium packages. In this MailOptin review, we’ll go over its primary features, from automated newsletters to modern optin forms, then we’ll talk about who should consider MailOptin for building email lists.

You have the option to download the free MailOptin Lite plugin from the plugin directory. Or you can upgrade to MailOptin Pro for more popups,A/B split testing, advanced targeting and more.

MailOptin Review of Features

When you get the MailOptin plugin installed, it reveals several tabs under the MailOptin menu. For instance, you can connect your optin forms to services like AWeber and MailChimp, or jump straight to designing your email optin campaigns.

MailOptin Review: Menu Link

Quite a few features are packed into MailOptin, so we’ll focus on the ones that stand out the most. Seeing as how this is an optin plugin, let’s start with what types of forms are available.

A Wide Variety of Optin Forms

When you get started with your optin forms, you’ll notice how many variations are provided. The most common is the lightbox popup, but MailOptin also has sidebar/widgets forms, before/after post forms, inline (embedded) forms, and call-to-action buttons.

MailOptin Review: Sample Optin

Another option is called the sticky bar, which allows you to type in a message and insert some fields and buttons. Place this at the top of your website or the bottom.

MailOptin Review: Notification Bar

I’m also a big fan of the slide-in, which sneaks into view on the bottom left or right side of the screen. It’s far less “in-your-face” than the popups, so you create a less intrusive environment while still giving people the opportunity to sign up for the newsletter.

MailOptin Review: Slide-in

Beautiful Templates

MailOptin provides several templates for each type of optin form. So, when I start building a campaign in the dashboard, I see all sorts of templates for the lightbox popups. Some of them are colorful, while others are simple and to the point. Some of them even focus on certain industries with their included imagery.

MailOptin Review: Templates

The dashboard shows filters for skipping to other optin form categories. For instance, you might only want to see the sticky notification bars or maybe the slide-ins.

MailOptin Review: Categories

Design Tools Through the WordPress Customizer

The majority of the customizations are done through the WordPress Customizer. This is good news for those experienced with WordPress, since you don’t have to relearn all of the settings from a new plugin. In the screenshot below I have the option to configure a success message. There are also some autoresponders and email notifications for new leads. The optin form is shown on the right for real-time edits. It’s not a drag-and-drop editor, but during my testing it seemed pretty intuitive and easy to learn.

MailOptin Review: Customizer

Numerous tabs are provided on the left. So, you can adjust colors to fit your brand and even drop in custom CSS for complete control.

MailOptin Review: custom css

Display Rules and Cookies

The display rules and triggers are rather important so as not to annoy your customers and to target the ones that haven’t signed up yet. The screenshot below lets you adjust your cookies, so that someone who already saw the popup a few days ago (or whatever you want to set it as) doesn’t have to see it again.

MailOptin Review: popup rules

MailOptin has excellent display rules. For example, you might decide to show the popup when a button is clicked, or maybe when a user tries to exit the website. Along with that, you have options for scheduling the optins, targeting those using AdBlock, or only showing optin forms on certain pages.

MailOptin Review: display rules

MailOptin Analytics

From impressions to conversions and subscribers, all of the MailOptin analytics are stored in the WordPress dashboard. They’re easy to understand, and they offer quick visuals of your progress.

MailOptin Review: Analytics

MailOptin Pricing

You can download the MailOptin Lite plugin for free and still receive a nice selection of features. For MailOptin Lite (the free version) you receive some of the following features:

  • Three optin forms.
  • Several call-to-action modules.
  • Support for sidebar and widget optin forms.
  • Lightbox and popup forms.
  • Optin forms that go before or after a blog post.
  • Page level targeting.
  • Notifications that go out to subscribers when you publish a new post.
  • An option to schedule when newsletters get sent.
  • An email template that’s responsive.

A few other features are included with MailOptin Lite plan, but that’s the main overview. Many companies will find that the free version is plenty to get started. It’s also a nice starter for those who want to test out the plugin before committing to a payment.

As for the paid version, MailOptin Popups & Email Optins premium can be downloaded from the official website. That website also provides some excellent demos and backend instructions so you get a taste of what to expect.

Some of the tools that come with the premium version include:

  • A/B split testing for your forms.
  • Automated and event-triggered newsletter sending.
  • Additional optin forms that are proven to increase conversions.
  • Better rules and triggers.
  • An AdBlock detection feature for requesting that people don’t block your ads.
  • Advanced analytics.
  • Custom CSS.
  • A Lead Bank area for getting more advanced information about your subscribers.
  • Much more.

So that’s how the features are broken up between the free and premium plans. But what should you expect to pay if upgrading to MailOptin premium?

It’s broken down into three reasonably priced plans, and the plugin has a 14-day refund guarantee if you’re not satisfied.

  • Standard – $69 per year for one site, with an option to pay $99 per year for three sites. This Standard plan has all of the MailOptin Lite features, along with A/B testing, call to actions, lightbox popups, sidebar forms, before/after post notifications, notification bars, more triggers, shortcodes, an Elementor form integration, and more.
  • Pro – $169 per year for support on 10 sites. This gets you all of the features from the previous plans, as well as conversion backups, optin campaign scheduling, optin referrer detection, AdBlock detection, new and returning visitor detection, advanced analytics, an autoresponder, and an automated monthly or weekly digest you can send out.
  • Agency – $269 per year for support on unlimited sites. This gets you all of the features from previous plans, priority email support, WooCommerce integrations, Easy Digital Downloads integrations, and other third-party app integrations.

Overall, MailOptin offers pretty reasonable pricing, since the majority of the primary features are included in that Standard package. It would be nice to have WooCommerce and EDD integrations without having to pay for the Agency plan, but that’s the only downside.

Who Should Consider the MailOptin WordPress Plugin?

It’s tough to argue that anyone should not consider MailOptin for building email lists. It has support for most major email providers, the templates are solid, and you can even integrate with eCommerce stores. As far as I’m concerned, MailOptin provides an affordable way to collect and manage emails for everyone.

Get Mail Optin Lite   Save 10% on MailOptin Pro

If you have any questions about our MailOptin review, plugin features or how to get started, let us know in the comments below.



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