Tag - Compared

9 Best WordPress Migration Plugins (Compared)


Are you looking for the best WordPress migration plugin to move your website?

While it is super-easy to start a new WordPress site, moving an existing website to a new hosting company is not as simple.

You need to move the database, files, plugins, and theme. At the same, you also want to reduce downtime, so your users don’t see a broken website.

Most importantly, you want to preserve your website’s SEO rankings.

To make sure that all these things go smoothly, you’ll need a WordPress migration plugin to easily manage the transfer.

In this article, we will compare the best WordPress migration plugins that allow you to migrate your websites without hiccups.

Best WordPress migration plugins

1. Duplicator Pro

Duplicator PRO

Duplicator Pro is the best WordPress migration plugin on the market. It works like a charm for many different types of migration scenarios without any technical knowledge.

It has a simple step by step wizard that guides you through the migration. First, you create a migration package of your website and download it to your computer along with an installer script.

Next, you upload the installer script and the package to the new location (new server or host) and run the migration wizard. Duplicator unpacks the content of your package and installs them.

In the end, it also allows you to update URLs to make sure that every done runs smoothly after the unpacking.

Pros:

  • Migrate WordPress site to a new host, domain name, local server, or live site.
  • Easy step by step migration wizard to move your website.
  • Can be used to schedule backups and save them on remote storage such as Google Diver, Dropbox, etc.
  • Connects with cPanel hosting dashboard to automatically create database and users.
  • Supports WordPress multisite migration.

Cons:

  • Beginners may need help connecting to the FTP server.
  • The upload process can be a bit tedious if you have unreliable internet or a very large website.

Pricing: Paid plans start from $59 / year for 3 websites. It also has a limited free version that would work for most small websites.

2. UpdraftPlus Premium

UpdraftPlus best WordPress backup plugin

UpdraftPlus is one of the best WordPress backup plugins. Its premium version comes with a migration tool that allows you to easily migrate your website.

Pros:

  • Easy to use process. If you already use it as your backup plugin then you can create a complete backup and import it on any location
  • Schedule and store your WordPress backups to remote locations.
  • Works with WordPress multisite networks
  • Incremental backups allow you to save server resources

Cons:

Pricing: You can purchase the Migrator Addon for $30 and use it with the free version of UpdraftPlus. Alternatively, you can buy UpdraftPlus Premium for $70.

3. JetPack

JetPack

JetPack is a massive WordPress plugin suite that also comes with a powerful backup feature. This feature was previously called VaultPress and was sold as a separate product.

Now it is included as JetPack Backups. It allows you to easily restore your WordPress backups and migrate your website to new servers.

Pros:

  • The easiest way to make WordPress backups and easily restore them on a new location
  • Incremental backups save server resources
  • Easy 1-click site restoration feature makes migrations a breeze
  • All your data is stored on the cloud and you don’t need to manually reupload backups during migration
  • Includes site security features which makes your backups secure

Cons:

  • You will need a JetPack subscription which comes with many other features that you may not even need or use.
  • Set up process is a bit complicated for beginners. You will need two separate plugins, JetPack subscription, and a WordPress.com account.

Pricing: Starting from $39 / year.

4. All-in-One WP Migration

All-in-One WP Migration

All-in-One WP Migration is a popular WordPress migration plugin with a comprehensive set of features. Unlike some other plugins on the list, it is not a backup plugin and specializes in website migrations.

Pros:

  • Tested and supports a large number of WordPress hosting providers, operating systems, PHP versions, and more.
  • Supports older versions upto WordPress 3.3
  • It bypasses your host’s file size limits by importing chunks of data.

Cons:

  • The free version limits import size to 512 MB
  • You’ll need to manually install WordPress on new location
  • For multisite exports you’ll need a separate paid extension

Pricing: The basic plugin is free, but you’ll need the Unlimited extension to remove import size restriction. The Unlimited extension is available at $69 for a lifetime license.

5. Migrate Guru

Migrate Guru

Migrate Guru is a WordPress migration plugin by the folks behind Blog Vault, a popular WordPress backup solution. It specializes in migrating websites to a new host or server.

Pros:

  • Supports almost all popular WordPress hosting providers
  • Easy migration wizard where you just need to enter your desitination host’s FTP or cPannel credentials and the plugin takes care of everything else
  • Migrates your WordPress database updated URLs and handles serialized data
  • Can be used to migrate large websites without affecting server performance

Cons:

  • Does not support localhost to live website or live to localhost transfers
  • Does not fully support multisite migrations

Pricing: Free

6. BackupBuddy

BackupBuddy

BackupBuddy is one of the most popular WordPress migration and backup plugin. It has been around since 2010 and has a loyal customer base.

Pros:

  • Comes with automated scheduled backups, restore, and migration features in one convenient package
  • Set up your backup schedules, choose what to backup, and store them to remote locations such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Amazon S3, and more.
  • Easily transfer your website using a complete WordPress backup
  • Can be used to deploy a WordPress staging site to live server with 1-click

Cons:

  • Does not support WordPress multisite
  • Restore and migration features are not as easy to use for beginners as some other plugins on this list

Pricing: Starting from $80 for a single site license.

7. Migrate DB Pro

Migrate DB Pro

Migrate DB Pro is a powerful WordPress migration plugin made specifically for moving WordPress database from one install to another. However, it can also easily transfer media files, themes, and plugins with separate addons.

Pros:

  • Perfect when you quickly want to copy WordPress database from one site to another
  • Powerful features make it an excellent option for developers
  • Backup your existing database before replacing it with a new one
  • Find and replace any text in your database
  • Great for large websites and complex hosting server environments

Cons:

  • For complete migrations, you’ll need two addons which are only available under expensive developer license.
  • May not be as easy to use for beginners as some other plugins on the list

Price: Starting from $99 for a single site. You’ll need developer license to access media and files addons which will cost you $199.

Bonus Plugins

These WordPress migration plugins work in specific situations and are the best options for beginners.

8. SiteGround Migrator

SiteGround Migrator

If you are moving your WordPress site to SiteGround, then this plugin is for you. It is made by SiteGround to help users move their websites to SiteGround hosting servers.

SiteGround is one of the best WordPress hosting companies. They are also an officially recommended WordPress hosting provider.

Note: If you don’t want to use the plugin, then you can simply ask SiteGround support. They offer 1 free website migration with their GrowBig and GoGeek plans.

Pros:

  • It works well because it is made for a specific scenario transferring from any hosting company to SiteGround.
  • Super-easy to use you just need to enter a token from your hosting control panel and the plugin takes care of the rest.
  • If you are not changing the domain name, then it automatically creates a temporary domain for the transferred site. Later you can change the DNS to point your domain name.

Cons:

  • Can not be used to transfer from localhost to live site
  • Does not support WordPress multisite

Pricing: Free

9. Free WordPress Blog Setup

Free blog setup and migration

The plugins mentioned above do not work on WordPress.com websites. See the difference between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org.

For most beginners, moving from WordPress.com to WordPress.org is not as simple as you’d like it to be. This is where our free blog setup comes in.

Basically, you’ll need to purchase a hosting plan from one of our recommended WordPress hosting providers and we will transfer or set up your WordPress blog.

For more details, see our free blog set up page.

Note: At WPBeginner we believe in transparency. When you sign up for one of our recommended hosting providers, we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

We would get this commission for recommending just about any hosting company, but we only recommend products that we use personally use and believe will add value to our readers.

Pros

  • Allows you to transfer WordPress.com to self-hosted WordPress.org website.
  • WPBeginner’s expert team migrates your content and media
  • You also get must-have WordPress plugins installed on your site to give you a solid start.

Cons:

  • Only migrates WordPress.com blogs
  • Due to WordPress.com limitations, it can only migrate your content, comments, images and media.

Pricing: Free

Conclusion: Which is The Best WordPress Migration Plugin?

We believe that Duplicator Pro is the best WordPress migration plugin on the market. Even the free version works like a charm for small WordPress blogs and websites.

We also recommend Duplicator in our WordPress migration guides. See our step by step guides for complete instructions.

WP Migrate DB Pro is a great alternative for migrating large websites specially when you have complex hosting setup with various environment. We use this plugin on our websites, but the reason why it’s not our top choice is because it is not as beginner friendly.

This guide only covers migration plugin that helps you migrate a WordPress site to another server or domain. If you’re looking to switch to WordPress from another platform, then please follow our guides below:

We hope this article helped you find the best WordPress migration plugin for your website. You may also want to see our guide on the best WordPress plugins and the best email marketing services for small businesses.

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



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7 Best Podcast Hosting for 2019 Compared (Most are Free)


Several of our readers have asked us about finding the best podcast hosting service.

Podcast hosting is different than website hosting because it offers specific tools built to optimize the subscriber experience (we’ll explain more later in the article).

Choosing a reliable podcasting hosting platform is crucial for your podcast because it will help you grow your audience faster while making it easier to manage your podcast files.

In this article, we’ll compare the best podcast hosting companies that you can use. Many of them are free and some charge a small fee because they offer better support and tools.

The best podcast hosting companies compared

What is Podcast Hosting and Why You Need it?

Podcast hosting is a specialized service which offers to store and deliver media files associated with a podcast.

Just like you need a website hosting service to store all your website files, a podcast hosting offers the same service but for your podcast’s media files.

Now you may be wondering, couldn’t I just use my website hosting to store my podcast files as well?

You can do that, but that wouldn’t be good for your website or your listeners.

You see, podcast episodes are large files. Delivering them from the same server will take a lot of server resources.

This would make your website slower, and it can even crash during high load.

If several users start downloading at the same time, then most shared hosting services will simply block the processes that are taking up server resources. This means users will not be able to download your podcast.

And that’s precisely why you need a podcast hosting service.

Why podcast hosting?

These companies specialize in storing and delivering large media files. They are made specifically for podcasters and have specialized tools to handle media files.

You also get support from folks who are specialists in the industry. This makes a huge difference in the long run.

That being said, let’s take a look at the best podcast hosting services that you can use.

Best Podcast Hosting Services

There are many companies offering podcast hosting services. However, we will be looking for the ones that are the easiest to use, offer great tools and support, and of course flexibility in file sizes.

Here are our picks for the best podcast hosting services.

1. Podbean

Podbean

Podbean is the best podcast hosting service provider on the market. They offer unlimited podcast hosting plans with unlimited bandwidth.

It also includes beautiful design tools to host your website with customizable themes. You can also easily embed the Podbean podcast player directly into your WordPress posts and pages.

Aside from that, they also have podcast promotion tools which automatically submit your episodes to all top podcast directories. This allows your audience to use their preferred tools to listen and download podcasts.

Podbean also offers an advertising marketplace which provides opportunities for podcasters to monetize their content. They also have a huge community of podcasters already using Podbean as their podcasting platform.

Pricing: Free Plan with limited storage, paid plans starting from $9 / month with unlimited storage.

2. BuzzSprout

Buzzsprout

BuzzSprout is one of the easiest to use podcasting hosting provider for beginners. They have been in the business since 2009 and has built a strong community of podcasters which includes some of the top podcasters around.

If you are just getting started, then you’ll find it to be incredibly easy to use. Just upload your media file and it automatically takes care of the rest.

They will also automatically submit your episodes to all the top podcast directories which ensures that your podcast is available on all devices and apps.

Their embeddable podcast player looks great and works well on all screen sizes. It shows the cover art, social sharing buttons, forward and backward skip controls, and more.

They also offer a free WordPress plugin which makes embeds even easier.

If you don’t want to make a website, then BuzzSprout can make one for you. You can customize its design and use your own custom domain name.

The downside is that even their paid plans have storage and bandwidth limits.

Pricing: Limited free plan for 90 days. Paid plans start at $12 / month for 3 hours upload.

3. Blubrry

Blubrry

Blubrry offers flexible podcast hosting plans for new and experienced podcasters alike. They offer a popular WordPress podcasting plugin called PowerPress which makes it super-easy to manage a podcast directly from your WordPress website.

Using Blubrry with PowerPress makes it easy to upload your podcast episodes directly to your podcast hosting provider. It also allows you to easily submit your podcast to Apple Podcasts (previously iTunes) and Google Podcasts.

This makes your podcasts easily discoverable on Google Home, Assistant, and Google Podcast app on Android devices.

Blubrry also offers monetization options, podcast statistics, social sharing features, and more.

Pricing: Starting from $12 per month with 100 MB storage each month.

4. Transistor

Transistor

Transistor is a powerful yet easy to use podcast hosting service for professionals and beginners. They offer unlimited podcast hosting plans which means they don’t charge you for hours of upload as some other hosts do.

They make it incredibly easy to simply upload your podcast media and publish it. They also offer podcast analytics, so you can see how each episode performed.

Their embed code allows you to easily add each episode to your WordPress posts and pages. If you don’t have a website, then they can quickly create one for you.

One thing to watch out for is that their plans do limit the number of downloads. Which means you need to upgrade your plan as your podcast grows.

Pricing: Starting from $19 per month for upto 10,000 downloads each month,

5. Smart Podcast Player

Smart Podcast Player

Regardless of which podcast hosting service you choose, you will need a media player to properly embed and display podcasts on your website.

Some podcasting companies have their own embedded players and some don’t. The problem is that they don’t look anywhere as good as smart podcast player, and they definitely don’t have the same customization options.

Smart Podcast Player is the best media player for podcast websites.

It allows you to display a beautiful media player on your website. You can display on individual episode pages for your podcast or on your homepage. Users can browse the episodes, use on-screen controls, share your podcast, and more.

It looks beautiful on all devices and screen sizes. You can also customize its colors to match your website and make it sticky on top or bottom.

Apart from helping you find new listeners, it also helps you grow your email list and increase return visitors to your website.

This tool is used by every top podcaster in the world, and it’s created by Pat Flynn’s team.

Pricing: Starting from $8.09 per month (billed annually)

6. Libsyn

Libsyn

Libsyn is another reliable podcast hosting service provider. They offer an easy to use platform that puts your brand in the center and helps you promote your podcast across different platforms, apps, and devices.

Libsyn started in 2004, which makes it one of the very first podcast hosting service providers. It was created by podcasters for other podcasters and has a large community of users including some of the most influential podcasters.

They offer podcast hosting plans with different storage limits each month but with unlimited bandwidth. They offer monetization options, detailed analytics, and WordPress integration with their plugin called Libsyn Publisher Hub.

Pricing: Starting from $5 per month with 50 MB monthly storage.

7. SoundCloud

SoundCloud

SoundCloud is a popular music and podcast hosting platform. The good thing is that you can embed any podcast epidsode from SoundCloud by simply placing the URL anywhere in your WordPress posts and pages.

SoundCloud is free for up to 3 hours of uploads. Their free plan gives a good starting point for beginners who want to test the waters first.

Their paid plans come with more storage, bandwidth, advanced statistics, monetization and distribution options. It is easy to use but not the most flexible or customizable podcast hosting plan.

Pricing: Free plan with 3 hours of upload limit. Paid plans start from $6 per month.

Which is The Best Podcast Hosting Service?

As you can see that many podcast hosting services offer similar plans with matching features. Some put limits on storage space and some limit downloads.

Considering these factors, we recommend Podbean as the overall best podcast hosting service. Their plans come with unlimited storage and bandwidth with an incredibly easy to use platform. They also allow you to easily promote your podcast across different services.

Our second recommendation Would be BuzzSprout. It is one of the easiest podcast hosting solution perfect for beginners to get started.

How to Start a Podcast?

Apart from a podcast hosting service, you will also need a website. This will be your podcast’s home on the internet where you’ll promote it and help users discover more content.

To make a website, you’ll need a domain name and a website hosting account.

The domain name will typically cost you $14.99 per year and website hosting plans start from $7.99 per month usually paid annually.

Since you are just starting out, you want to save money whenever you can.

Luckily, our friends at Bluehost are offering WPBeginner users a free domain and a generous discount on hosting.

→ Claim This Exclusive Bluehost Offer ←

For complete step by step instructions, see our guide on how to make a website.

Next, you will need to set up your podcast. We have created a step by step guide to start a podcast for beginners, it will walk you through complete set up including how to record your podcasts.

What Equipment do You Need for Podcasting?

Many professional podcasters use a variety of equipment to record podcasts. This includes microphones, audio interface, mixers, windscreen, shock mounts, and more.

All of this equipment costs a lot of money.

However, you don’t need all of them just to record a Podcast. The only equipment we recommend buying from the start is a good microphone.

We recommend using Rode Podcaster, which you can plug into your computer using a USB port.

If you can spare a little more, then you can purchase the Rode Podcaster Kit which comes with a boom arm and a shock mount.

Alternative: Samson C01UCW is a good entry level microphone to record podcasts.

Once your podcast grows and you’re making money from it, then you can invest in improving your setup. But remember you can’t improve something if you don’t start it, so just start!

How to Promote Your Podcast

Many of the above-mentioned podcast hosting services allow you to automatically submit your podcast to different podcast directories and search engines.

You can also manually submit your podcast as well. Once approved your podcast and all its episodes will become discoverable on these platforms.

Your podcast is published as an RSS feed. You will need to copy the podcast feed URL provided by your podcast hosting service.

How to Submit Your Podcast to iTunes or Apple Podcasts

iTunes is the world’s largest podcast directory allowing users to subscribe to podcasts using their iPhones, Apple computers, iPods, and other Apple devices.

First, you will need to sign in to iTunes Connect website using your Apple ID. If you don’t have one, then you sign up to create one for free.

Once logged in, click on the Podcasts Connect button.

Podcasts Connect

On the next screen, enter your podcast feed URL and click on the Validate button.

iTunes Submit

iTunes will now fetch your podcast information. Click on the Submit button to continue.

iTunes will now review your podcast submission and you’ll be notified via email once it is approved.

How to Submit Your Podcast to Google Podcasts

Google Podcasts is Google’s alternative to Apple Podcasts and iTunes.

To submit your podcast, you need to visit Google Play Music website and click on the Publish buttonn.

Publish Google Podcast

This will take you to Podcast management console where you need to enter your Podcast feed URL.

Submit podcast feed

Next, you will need to verify ownership via email and submit your podcast feed for review. Once approved your Podcast will get listed on Google Podcasts.

Promoting your podcast on your own website

Having a WordPress website for your podcast gives you a ton of options to promote your podcast.

First, we will recommend you to follow our WordPress SEO guide to make sure that your podcast website is getting the search traffic.

Now as people start visiting your website, you will notice that most of them just leave without subscribing to your podcast. This is where email marketing comes in.

You need to start an email newsletter which allows users to subscribe to your podcast via email.

Many beginner podcasters find a ton of new listeners and subscribers by running a giveaway contest. We recommend using RafflePress which is the best WordPress giveaway plugin. It allows you to create viral giveaway contests that help you quickly get more visitors to your website.

For more tips, see our guide on how to increase website traffic and more visitors to your site.

We hope this article helped you find the best podcast hosting service to launch your podcast. You may also want to see our guide on how to create a professional business email address to outreach to sponsors and a virtual business phone number to go along with your podcast.

Last but not least, check out our guide on the must have WordPress plugins to grow your website.

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

The post 7 Best Podcast Hosting for 2019 Compared (Most are Free) appeared first on WPBeginner.



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6 Best WordPress Giveaway and Contest Plugins Compared (2019)


Are you looking for the best WordPress giveaway plugins to run viral campaigns on your website?

Giveaway plugins for WordPress allow you to efficiently run a giveaway contest on your website. They allow you to maximize the incoming traffic and help you get tons of new visitors.

In this article, we will show you the best WordPress giveaway plugins to help you boost traffic, get subscribers, and improve your brand image.

Best giveaway contest plugins for WordPress

What to Look for in a WordPress Giveaway Plugin?

There are plenty of WordPress contest and giveaway plugins in the market, but not all of them have the specific features that you may need for creating a successful viral giveaway.

Some of them are good at helping you grow your email list while others are optimized to help you get more social media followers.

You need a WordPress giveaway plugin that combines the best of all features to help you increase your website traffic, grow your email list, and get more social media followers.

You also need to make sure that the plugin does not slow down your website.

Last but not least, you want to consider the costs and make sure that they are reasonable.

With that said, lets take a look at the best WordPress giveaway, contest, and sweepstakes plugin.

1. RafflePress

RafflePress

RafflePress is the best WordPress giveaway plugin on the market. It allows you to easily create highly effective viral contests and giveaways on your website.

It connects with all top email marketing platforms, so you can grow your email list.

You can also connect with popular social media platforms to get more followers and grow your website traffic from various social sharing actions.

RafflePress comes with a drag and drop giveaway builder which makes it easy to quickly build viral contests. It also has built-in templates to make the giveaway creation process even faster.

The refer-a-friend giveaway feature allows you to leverage word of mouth marketing by allowing users to share the giveaway on their social media profiles. This builds engagement and gets you tons of new visitors to your website.

RafflePress plugin also works with all WordPress form plugins, CRM Software, social networks, and lead generation software.

You also get tons of other powerful features like fraud protection, success tracking, retargeting, social logins, email verification, prize gallery, giveaway landing pages, and a whole lot more.

The giveaway works on mobile phones just as beautifully as laptops. You can also fully customize the giveaway appearance with your own images, colors, and fonts.

RafflePress has a free version available in WordPress.org directory, RafflePress lite, which you can try for free. To unlock the full power of RafflePress, you would need to purchase RafflePress Pro.

For more information, see our tutorial on how to run a giveaway / contest in WordPress with RafflePress.

Pricing: As mentioned above, RafflePress offers a free version that will help you get quick wins. However if you want all the powerful features, then the Growth plan costs $159 / year which is by far the best value compared to any other giveaway plugin in the market. For small business, their Plus plan ($39 / year) and Pro plan ($79 / year) are very well priced.

Note: WPBeginner users can get 20% discount on their purchase by using our RafflePress coupon code: WPBEGINNER20

2. Gleam

Gleam

Gleam is a popular giveaway app that works with WordPress sites. It is available as a SaaS (Software as a Service) app for website owners to create giveaway and referral marketing campaigns.

There giveaway platform is extremely robust however the user interface for setting up a giveaway is not beginner friendly. There’s a setup wizard to connect your email email service, social profiles, and select actions for qualifying entries.

Once you have created the giveaway, you’ll be given a code snippet to paste in WordPress post or page where you want to add the contest.

Gleam also creates a separate giveaway landing page on their own website that you can use to promote the contest on social media.

All your contest data is stored on the Gleam website, and there are limited export options for user data. You will also need to upgrade to the Business plan to remove their branding and logo from your campaigns.

Pricing: The Business plan costs $149 per month which is what you need to unlock most of their powerful features. While they have lower level plans such as Hobby plan ($10 per month) and Pro plan ($49 per month), they are limited in features / integrations. Their free plan is extremely limited and is not even worth mentioning.

3. Rafflecopter

Rafflecopter

Rafflecopter is a popular giveaway / sweepstakes app for all kind of websites. It is available as a SaaS app, which means you’ll need to add the giveaway widget to your WordPress site using a code snippet.

It works with all major email marketing services and offers integrations with popular social media networks. Rafflecopter also comes with refer-a-friend feature, polls and survey options.

You can easily customize the appearance of the giveaway widget with your own images and background.

Rafflecopter has a limited free plan, and you’ll need to upgrade to one of their paid plans to truly make the most out of it.

Pricing: Basic plan costs ($13 per month) which gives you few additional features. If you want email integrations, then you will need to use their Grow plan ($43 per month). The ability to remove Rafflecopter branding and the powerful refer a friend feature is only available in their Premium plan ($84 per month).

4. Simple Giveaways

Simple Giveaways

Simple Giveaways is another good option to create a giveaway on your WordPress site. It is available as a limited free version, but you will need the paid plugin to access most features.

You can create your giveaway using their simple interface. The plugin allows you to add multiple ways to submit entries for the giveaway.

It has limited entry options and allows you to integrate Facebook, Twitter, few email marketing services, and other WordPress plugins. It also includes fraud protection with Match CAPTCHA and basic tracking reports for your contest.

Pricing: The premium version starts at $49 per year for 1 site.

5. KingSumo

KingSumo

KingSumo is a premium WordPress giveaway and referral marketing plugin. It comes with a simple user interface which allows you to easily create a viral giveaway.

It includes social sharing options for Facebook, Twitter, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram. It also works with several popular email services to grow your email list.

The plugin version of KingSumo is a bit outdated, and they have a new SaaS giveaway product that’s being promoted on the website.

Pricing: The SaaS giveaway app costs $228 / year. You can get the WordPress plugin version licensed at $198 for 1 site or $594 for unlimited sites.

6. WP Contest Creators

WP Contest Creator

WP Contest Creator is another good option to add giveaway contests to your WordPress site. It allows you to connect with popular email services, and you can create different social interactions for users to earn entries.

It also allows you to automatically send emails to users when they enter the giveaway. You can utilize these emails to tell users how they can increase their chances of winning.

Optionally, you can add gamification to your contest by displaying a leaderboard of participants with the highest entry scores.

It also provides some design options, but they are not as easy to follow as other solutions mentioned in the list. The plugin’s backend is also a bit complicated and beginners may find it a bit difficult to use.

Pricing: $69 / year for a single site license.

Which is The Best Giveaway Plugin for WordPress?

All the solutions we mentioned above allow you to run giveaway contests on your WordPress site. However, they each differ in terms of features, ease of use, speed, pricing, and privacy.

We believe RafflePress to be the overall best WordPress giveaway plugin for all users. It is extremely easy to use and comes with an intuitive drag and drop builder.

It runs on your own website, so you have full control of the data and user interactions. RafflePress also comes with success tracking and retargeting features which make your campaigns even more powerful. Their pricing is also by far the most affordable in the list.

If you don’t mind adding code to your WordPress site or run your giveaway on a SaaS platform, then Gleam and Rafflecopter can be a good option, but their premium versions are very pricey.

We hope this article helped you find the best giveaway plugin for your WordPress site. You may also want to see our guide on how to get more traffic to your website with practical tips.

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



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Wordfence vs Sucuri – Which One is Better? (Compared)


Wordfence and Sucuri are two of the best and most popular WordPress security plugins on the market.

They are both highly recommended and incredibly helpful in keeping your WordPress site secure. This makes it hard for beginners to choose which one is right for them.

While Sucuri and Wordfence have a lot of similar features, each has its own pros and cons.

In this article, we will compare Wordfence vs Sucuri to share which one is better for overall WordPress security in our expert opinion.

Sucuri vs Wordfance which one is better for security

Comparing Wordfence vs Sucuri – What to Look For?

Wordfence and Sucuri are the two top WordPress security plugins. They both offer comprehensive protection against brute force attacks, malware infection, and data theft.

As a website owner, you need to choose a security plugin that not only protects your website but does it efficiently. You would also want something that requires little maintenance, so you can focus on growing your business.

Lastly, you need to pick a security plugin that is easy to use and does not require technical skills to setup / maintain.

For this guide, we will be comparing Sucuri vs Wordfence side by side. Our comparison is divided into the following categories:

  • Ease of use
  • Website Application Firewall (WAF)
  • Security Monitoring and notifications
  • Malware scanner
  • Hacked website clean up

That being said, let’s take a look at how Wordfence vs Sucuri stack up and which one comes out as the best overall WordPress security plugin.

Ease of Use

Website security is a highly complex and technical field. That’s why our first comparison category is ease of use.

Let’s see how easy it is to use Wordfence vs Sucuri to protect your website.

Wordfence – Ease of Use

Setting up Wordfence is quite easy. Immediately after installing the plugin, it will ask you to provide an email address where you would like to receive security notifications. You would also need to agree with their Terms of service.

Wordfence setup

After that, you will see an onboarding wizard that will help you become familiar with the Wordfence dashboard. It points out where you’ll see security notifications and scans.

Wordfence dashboard

The plugin will turn on the website application firewall in the learning mode and run an automatic scan in the background. Depending on the size of your website, you will see notifications when the scan is finished.

Clicking on a notification will show its details with recommended action that you need to take. For example, here it showed us that our WordPress theme has a newer version available.

Security issues

The firewall by default runs as a WordPress plugin which is not very effective. Wordfence does allow you to run it in the extended mode for better protection, but you’ll have to set it up manually (more on this later).

The basic Wordfence plugin setup is quite simple and does not require too much user input. The user interface is a bit cluttered which may make it difficult for beginners to find certain settings / option.

Sucuri – Ease of Use

Sucuri offers a cleaner user interface with no unnecessary prompts popping up on the screen. It also runs a quick scan upon activation, and you will see notifications on the plugin’s dashboard.

Sucuri dashboard

Sucuri’s website application firewall (WAF) is a cloud-based firewall which means it does not run on your server. In other words, no technical maintenance required on your end.

You will need to add your API key and configure DNS settings for your domain name. This will allow the firewall to catch malicious traffic before it even reaches your WordPress hosting server.

Once setup, you will not need to worry about updating or maintaining it in the future.

Sucuri also makes it easy to perform recommended security hardening settings on your website. All you need to do is click to apply various security hardening setting.

Hardening WordPress security with Sucuri

The overall user interface is nice. However, users will still need to dig deeper to find options that they are looking for.

Updating nameservers on domain registrar is an additional step that’s required to setup Sucuri’s firewall, and it can be a bit difficult for some non-techy users. The good thing is that most popular domain registrars like Domain.com, GoDaddy, etc will be able to help you set it up.

Winner: Sucuri

Website Application Firewall (WAF)

A web application firewall monitors your website traffic and blocks common security threats. There are different ways to implement a firewall (application based vs cloud based).

We believe cloud based firewalls are more efficient and reliable in the long run.

Both Sucuri and Wordfence offer website application firewall, let’s see how they differ.

Wordfence Website Application Firewall

Wordfence offers a website application firewall that monitors and blocks malicious website traffic.

Wordfence firewall

This is an application-level firewall, which means that it runs on your server and is less efficient than a cloud-based firewall.

By default, Wordfence turns it on with the basic mode. This means the firewall runs as a WordPress plugin, so before an attack can be blocked, WordPress has to load. This can take up a lot of server resources, and it’s not efficient.

To change that, you will need to manually setup Wordfence firewall in the extended mode. This will allow Wordfence firewall to monitor traffic before it reaches your WordPress installation.

Since it’s an endpoint firewall, Wordfence can only block traffic once it has already reached your hosting server. In case of a DDOS attack or brute force attempt, your server resources will still be affected and your website performance will be down. It may even crash.

When you first activate Wordfence, their firewall is in learning mode. It learns how you and other users access your WordPress website. During this time several firewall rules are not applied to make sure that legitimate website users are not accidentally blocked.

Sucuri Website Application Firewall

Sucuri offers a cloud-based website application firewall, which means that it blocks suspicious traffic even before it reaches your hosting server.

Sucuri WAF

This saves you a lot of server resources and instantly improves your website speed. Sucuri’s CDN servers are located in different regions which is another added bonus for website speed.

To use the firewall, you will need to change your domain name’s DNS settings. This change would allow all your website traffic to go through Sucuri’s servers.

There is no basic or extended mode. Once setup is complete, Sucuri’s WAF would start protecting your website from malicious requests, DDOS attacks, and password guessing attempts.

They have a robust machine learning algorithm that is sophisticated enough to prevent false positives.

Sucuri does let you go from High Security mode to Paranoid mode when you experience DDoS. This makes sure that your website server doesn’t crash.

Winner: Sucuri

Security Monitoring and Notifications

As a website owner, you need to know if something is wrong on your website as soon as possible. A security issue can cost you customers and money.

To receive these notifications, you need to make sure that your WordPress site can send emails. The best way to ensure that is by using an SMTP service to send WordPress emails.

Let’s see how Wordfence and Sucuri handle website monitoring and alerts.

Wordfence Monitoring and Alerts

Wordfence has an excellent notification and alerts system. First, notifications will be highlighted next to the Wordfence menu in the WordPress admin sidebar and dashboard.

Dashboard notifications in Wordfence

They are highlighted according to their severity. You can click on a notification to learn more about it, and how to fix it.

However, you would see this only when you login to the WordPress dashboard.

Wordfence also comes with instant notifications via email. To configure email alerts, go to Wordfence » All Options page and scroll down to the ‘Email Alert Preferences’ section.

Email alerts in Wordfence

From here you can turn email alerts on/off. You can also choose the severity level to send an email alert.

Sucuri Monitoring and Alerts

Sucuri also displays critical notifications on your dashboard. The top right corner of the screen is dedicated to display the status of core WordPress files.

Sucuri dashboard alerts

Below that, you’ll see the audit logs and site health status.

Sucuri comes with a complete alert management system. Simply visit the Sucuri Security » Settings page and switch to the Alerts tab.

Sucuri Alerts

You can add email addresses that you want to be notified. After that, you can further customize email alerts.

Customize Sucuri email alert notifications

You can choose events you want to be notified about, number of alerts per hour, and customize settings for brute force attacks, post types, and alert email subjects.

Their website application firewall will also send automated high level alerts to your email.

Winner: Tie

Malware Scanner

Both plugins come with built-in security scannerss to check your WordPress site for malware, changed files, and malicious code.

Let’s see how Wordfence and Sucuri scan for malware and other issues.

Wordfence Malware Scanner

Wordfence comes with a powerful scanner which is highly customizable to meet your hosting environment and security concerns.

By default, the scan is enabled with limited scan settings (to save server resources on shared hosting plans).

Wordfence scanner

For free version, Wordfence automatically decides a scan schedule for your site. Premium version users can choose their own scan schedule.

You can set up the scanner to run in different modes. Some scan options are only available with the premium version.

Wordfence scanner can also check your plugin and themes to match the repository version.

Sucuri Malware Scanner

Sucuri Malware scanner uses Sucuri’s Sitecheck API. This API automatically checks your site against multiple safe-browsing APIs to ensure that your website is not blacklisted.

It automatically checks the integrity of your core WordPress files to make sure that they are not modified.

You can customize the scan settings from Sucuri Security » Settings page and clicking on the scanner tab.

Sucuri scanner settings

Sucuri’s free scanner runs on the publicly available files on your website. It is not a WordPress specific scanner, so it is incredibly good at detecting any type of malware and malicious code.

It is also less intrusive on your server resources which is an added bonus.

Winner: Sucuri

Hacked Website Clean up

Cleaning up a hacked WordPress site is not easy. Malware can affect several files, inject links in your content, or block you out of your own website.

Manually cleaning everything by yourself is not possible for most beginners.

Luckily, both Wordfence and Sucuri offer site clean up and malware removal service. Let’s take a look at which one does it better.

Wordfence Site Clean Up

Wordfence site cleanup service is not included in their free or premium plans. It is sold separately as an add-on service.

Wordfence site cleanup service

Site clean up will also give you a premium Wordfence license for one website.

The malware clean up process is pretty straight forward. They will scan your site for malware / infections, and then clean up all affected files.

Their team will also investigate how hackers got access to your site. They will prepare a detailed report of the entire clean up process with suggestions for future prevention.

Sucuri Site Clean up

All paid Sucuri plans include website clean up service. This comes with site clean up, blacklist removal, SEO spam repair, and WAF protection for future prevention.

Sucuri website cleanup

They are really good at cleaning up malware, injected spam code, and backdoor access files.

The process is quite straight forward. You open a support ticket and their team will start working on the cleanup process.

They will use your login credentials for FTP/SSH access or cPanel. During the process, they keep a log of every file they touch and automatically backup everything.

Winnner: Tie

Conclusion

Both Wordfence and Sucuri are excellent WordPress security plugins. However, we believe that Sucuri is the best WordPress security plugin overall.

It offers a cloud-based WAF which improves your website’s performance and speed while blocking malicious traffic and brute force attacks.

Wordfence is a good free option if you don’t mind using a server-side firewall and scanner.

If you are looking for a free cloud-based website firewall, then you can use Cloudflare as a free alternative, but it doesn’t offer comprehensive protection. See our comparison of Sucuri vs Cloudflare.

Editor’s note: We use Sucuri on WPBeginner website to boost our security. See our detailed Sucuri review.

We hope this article helped you compare Wordfence vs Sucuri and find out which one is better for your needs. You may also want to follow our complete WordPress security guide for step by step instructions to protect your website.

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



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7 Best WordPress Invoice Plugins Compared (2019)


Are you looking for the best invoicing plugins for WordPress? An invoicing plugin can make it easy to automatically generate invoices, collect orders, and manage your finances.

As a business owner, there’s a lot to manage and manual invoices can take up significant amount of your time. Your invoices may look different each time, which isn’t very professional.

Using a professional invoicing software allows you to automate all invoicing and payment processes, so you can focus on growing your business.

In this article, we will share some of the best WordPress invoices plugin for various needs.

Best invoicing plugins for WordPress

Choosing the Best Invoicing Plugins for WordPress

There are several WordPress plugins that you can use to create online invoices and collect payments from your customers. All these WordPress invoice plugins offer different features which makes it difficult for beginners to choose the right invoice plugin for their business.

The key features that you should look for in a good WordPress invoicing plugin are:

  • One-time and recurring payment collection
  • Partial payment options
  • Automatic tax deduction and tax reporting
  • Single dashboard to manage all invoices and taxes
  • Credit card and other payment gateways
  • Payment scheduling and late fee option

It would be a bit difficult to find a solution that caters to all your invoicing needs. You’ll need to review the features and find a solution that suits your invoicing and payment requirements.

That being said, let’s take a look at our top picks for the best invoicing plugins for WordPress.

1. WPForms

WPForms

WPForms is the most business friendly WordPress form plugin. It comes with a drag and drop builder which allows you to easily create any type of form including user registration forms, newsletter signup form, request a quote form, donation form, payment collection form, etc.

With WPForms, you can easily generate an online order form which gives you the option to automatically send an invoice to the customer. You and your customers also get an instant email notification upon completion of the payment.

WPForms integrates with PayPal and Stripe to collect payments. This allows you to easily accept credit card payments without using a shopping cart plugin or eCommerce software.

While WPForms is not as robust as some other WordPress invoice plugins below, it has all the essentials features that you’ll need, and it will save you money because it can serve multiple purposes such as help you build contact forms, request a quote lead forms, collect feedback via surveys, etc.

You can use our WPForms coupon to get an additional 50% off.

2. FreshBooks

FreshBooks

FreshBooks is popular accounting software for small businesses. It allows you to create professional invoices in a few clicks. You can fully customize the invoice by adding your business logo and personalized note.

It has an automated system to send reminders to customers for the overdue payments. FreshBooks also charges your clients’ credit card securely for recurring payments and sends notifications to you and your customers.

You can add your work hours and expenses in the invoices to display a proper breakdown of the payment. It also offers tax collection, preferred currency selection, discount codes, and pre-payment option.

Freshbooks is a SaaS invoicing platform that works with all best website builders including WordPress. It is the most robust invoice software in the list, but their pricing is a bit more expensive since they charge you based on the number of billable clients.

3. WP Invoicing

WP Invoicing

WP Invoicing is a feature-rich WordPress invoicing plugin. It runs on your WordPress site and can help you create and send invoices to customers.

It can also automatically manage taxes in the invoices. This helps you save time while automating the process for you and your customers.

The plugin supports multiple payment gateways like PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net, and more. It can also be used to set up recurring payments and automatically generate invoices for each payment.

While the base WP Invoicing plugin is free, you will have to pay for individual extensions, or you can buy a bundle membership which is a much better deal.

4. Sliced Invoices

Sliced Invoices

Sliced Invoices is a professional WordPress invoicing plugin. It has multiple pre-built templates and designs to generates invoices quickly. You can also create custom invoices with your logo and text, so you can send quotes directly to customers.

It comes with a reporting system to manage all your invoices and quotes in one place. Sliced Invoices is translation ready which would enables you to send invoices in your customers’ language. It also includes extensions for PDF invoices, recurring payments, deposit invoices, and more.

Slide Invoices is a free plugin, but you will have to pay for individual extensions, or you can buy a bundle membership which is a much better deal.

5. Sprout Invoices

Sprout Invoices

Sprout Invoices is a full-fledged invoicing plugin for WordPress sites. It can estimate the cost of your services and generate detailed invoices for customers automatically.

The plugin integrates with 300+ apps for payments, invoice designs, workflows, and more. It has a powerful payment scheduling system to set terms for customers like payment amount, due date, late fees, etc.

6. WooCommerce PDF Invoices

WooCommerce PDF Invoices

WooCommerce PDF Invoices is a WooCommerce extension to send a PDF invoice with every order confirmation email. It has a ready-made template for the PDF invoices, and you can also create your own custom invoice templates.

It manages a sequence number for the invoices, so that you can keep track of all the payments. The customers can download invoices from their account page on your eCommerce website. You can also connect a printer with the plugin to print invoices as soon as the customers confirm the order. If you run an online store using WooCommerce, then this plugin can be the answer to your invoicing needs.

This plugin does not work with other WordPress eCommerce plugins, but most other solutions have their own invoice extensions.

7. WP-Invoice

WP-Invoice

WP-Invoice is a free WordPress invoicing plugin. It’s perfect for digital agencies, general contractors, web developers, and any business that needs to send invoices to their customers.

It allows you to create the invoice within your WordPress dashboard. Once you generate the invoice, your customer will receive an email, and they can follow the link to make payments easily. You can also fully customize the email notification. WP-Invoice is a little limited in terms of features, but it can be an easy to use solution for many small businesses.

We hope this article helped you find the best invoicing plugins for WordPress. You may also want to check out our expert pick of the best WordPress plugins, best email marketing services, and best business phone services for small businesses.

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

The post 7 Best WordPress Invoice Plugins Compared (2019) appeared first on WPBeginner.



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How to Choose the Best Web Design Software in 2019 (Compared)


Are you looking for the best web design software to make beautiful websites? Most experienced web designers have their own preferred software for different design tasks.

However, if you’re just starting out, then it can take some time to find that perfect combination.

In this article, we will show you the best web design software for different use-cases, so you can make the right decision for your need.

Choosing the best web design software

Why You Need The Best Web Design Software?

Due to common misconceptions about web design, many beginners feel that it would take them years to make decent and professional website designs.

While it’s true that you get better overtime, the right web design software can help you easily create beautiful designs with minimal skills.

That’s because some web design software automate the entire process which allows even absolute beginners to create beautiful websites.

Let’s take a look at some of the best web design software that will help you design like an expert web designer.

Different Types of Web Design Software

There isn’t a single web design tool that would do all the tasks related to web development and design. As a designer, you will need to choose a combination of different software to make your own toolkit.

We have divided our selection into different categories, so you can evaluate the best available options for each task.

  • Best web design software for building websites
  • Best web design software for eCommerce
  • Best web design software for graphic designers
  • Best web design software for marketers
  • Best web design software for HTML sites

Let’s start with the basics first.,

Best Web Design Software for Building Websites

Many beginners ask us if they need to learn coding to make a real website.

While knowing how to code gives you an extra advantage in creating websites, many website builders like WordPress has made it easy for anyone to create custom websites without learning how to code.

This is the reason why WordPress now powers over 34% of all websites on the internet.

1. Beaver Builder

Beaver Builder

Beaver Builder is a user friendly page builder for WordPress. It allows you to simply drag and drop design elements to create your own custom design without writing any code.

To get started with Beaver Builder, you’ll need a WordPress website.

We recommend using Bluehost. They are an officially recommended WordPress hosting provider and one of the biggest hosting companies in the world.

The best part is that they are offering WPBeginner users discount on hosting and a free domain name. Basically, you’ll be able to get started for $2.75 per month.

→ Click Here to Start with Bluehost ←

For details, see our guide on how to make a website with step by step instructions.

Once you are up and running, you need to install and activate the Beaver Builder plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

After that, you can edit WordPress posts or pages using the Beaver Builder.

Using Beaver Builder to design pages in WordPress

Simply point and click on any item to edit it or load from dozens of ready-made templates to use as a starting point. For instructions, see our guide on how to create custom layouts using Beaver Builder

Beaver Builder also comes with a Theme Customizer which allows you to create custom WordPress themes using the same drag and drop interface. Unlike editing pages, you can create a complete theme with your own design.

For more information, see our tutorial on how to create custom WordPress themes without writing any code.

2. Divi

Divi Demo

Divi is another excellent option if you want to design a WordPress website. It is one of the best WordPress page builders and comes with dozens of ready-to-use templates to choose from.

After you have setup your WordPress site, simply install and activate Divi on your website and start editing. It works with almost any WordPress theme, and you can also use the Divi theme which comes with enhanced features for the builder.

It is a drag and drop tool which means you can simply point and click on any item and change its appearance. You can add images, videos, sliders, contact forms, widgets, and more.

Most importantly your design changes are fully responsive and would automatically adjust for mobile devices.

3. Constant Contact Website Builder

Constant Contact Website Builder

If you are looking for a fully-hosted website builder, then Constant Contact Website Builder is a good WordPress alternative for beginners. This smart website builder comes with beautiful website designs that you can edit using a simple user interface.

Simply start by answering a few questions, and the website builder will pick up design, images, and demo content for your site. You can then just point and click to replace it with your own images, text, videos, and more.

4. Gator by HostGator

Gator Website Builder by HostGator

Gator is another website builder that allows you to design complete websites without any coding. Gator is made by HostGator, one of the best web hosting companies in the world.

It is a fully hosted platform, which means you don’t need to worry about updates, security, or backup. It not only includes the builder and website hosting, but you also get a free domain name for your website.

The builder software itself features an intuitive drag and drop interface with more than 200+ professional web design templates. Each template is fully customizable using a simple point and click tool.

You can edit any item on a page or drag and drop commonly used items like images, videos, photo gallery, text, columns, maps, and contact forms.

Gator also comes with a built-in stock photo library, so you can find and add beautiful photos on your website.

Best Web Design Software for Ecommerce

The eCommerce industry is expected to reach $4.9 trillion by the year 2021. There is an enormous demand for eCommerce web design in the market.

Following are our top picks for the best web design software for eCommerce that will allow you to break into this market without any coding skills.

5. WooCommerce

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is the best eCommerce platform in the world. It runs on top of WordPress, which means you’ll need a WordPress website to design an eCommerce website using WooCommerce.

You can sign up with Bluehost to get started. They are offering WPBeginner users discount on hosting + free domain name. Basically, you can start with $2.75 per month.

For detailed instructions, see our complete guide on how to start an online store.

6. BigCommerce

BigCommerce eCommerce Platform

BigCommerce is a popular eCommerce platform. It is available as a fully-hosted solution and the best part is that it can be easily integrated into a WordPress website.

Creating an online store with BigCommerce is quite simple. It comes with beautiful storefront designs and fully customizable themes for your online store. It automatically handles product images, crops them, and displays them in beautiful gallery layouts.

Wondering how it stacks up against WooCommerce? See our article on BigCommerce vs WooCommerce for side by side comparison of the two platforms.

7. Shopify

Shopify

If you are looking for a fully hosted eCommerce solution, then Shopify can be a good fit for you. It comes with professionally designed templates to create almost any kind of online store.

All eCommerce design tools are highly intuitive and allow you to just drag and drop items to create beautiful pages. You can easily upload custom logos, images, videos, and more.

Shopify takes care of hosting, software, and backups, so you can just focus on creating a beautiful online store.

For more details, see our detailed comparison of Shopify vs WooCommerce.

Best Web Design Software for Graphic Designers

A big part of web design consists of graphics to create custom logos, background images, featured images, and more. For all these, you will need graphic design tools.

These tools require some basic know-how of how to use them. Luckily, there are tons of online resources to quickly get you up to speed.

8. Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is the industry leader in photo editing and graphic design software. It is available for Mac and Windows operating systems.

It is one of the oldest and the easiest to use graphic design software on the market. Due to its massive popularity, there are plenty of online resources to learn Photoshop for free.

Adobe Photoshop is a bit more expensive than some other software. It is available on a subscription basis and each plan comes with different apps and addons.

9. Sketch

Sketch

Sketch is a powerful vector design tool which allows you to create scalable high-quality designs. Sketch makes it super easy to create icons, illustrations, prototypes and mockups for apps, websites, and print.

It comes with an intuitive design that’s easy to learn for beginners. It also comes with tons of learning resources to help you quickly familiarize yourself with the software.

10. Affinity Designer

Affinity Designer

Affinity Designer is an incredibly easy to use and powerful graphic design tool. Suitable for beginners and advanced users alike, Affinity Designer is packed with all the tools you would want in a graphic design tool without any of the complicated stuff.

It also allows you to easily switch between raster and vector modes. This makes it easy to design illustrations with a powerful combination of tools.

Affinity Designer is available for simple pricing of $49.99 one-time payment.

Basically Affinity is a perfect combination of both Adobe photoshop and illustrator.

11. Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is Adobe’s vector graphic design tool. Popular among graphic design professionals, Illustrator lets you create logos, icons, drawings, typography, and illustrations for print, web, video, and mobile.

It is easy to use but comes with a slight learning curve to take full advantage of the software. However, Adobe offers plenty of resources to help you get started. You’d also be able to find free tutorials online.

Adobe Illustrator is available on monthly subscription plans, which makes it a bit more expensive than other software.

12. Gimp

Gimp

If you are looking for a free web design software, then Gimp is an excellent free option. This open source design software is a good alternative to Adobe Photoshop and allows you to easily edit images and create graphics for your websites.

Gimp is available for MacOS, Windows, and Linux. It may not look as polished as some other paid software, but it is a full-featured and powerful design software with much to offer.

Best Web Design Software for Marketers

Web design doest not just end with the launch of a website. Marketers regularly need to design graphics, social media images, icons, infographics, banners, and more.

There are plenty of tools that allow you to design professional-grade marketing material with very little effort and skills. Here is our pick of the best web design software for marketers.

13. Canva

Canva

Canva is a graphic design tool for marketers and bloggers. It is a web-based tool and doesn’t require installation of any additional software.

It comes with many ready-made design templates for different types of graphics. You can pick a template and then use Canva’s drag and drop tool to edit those images for your own website.

4. Balsamiq

Balsamiq

Balsamiq is a powerful design tool to create mockups, wireframes, and websites. It comes with an easy to use interface that helps you learn UI design as a beginner. Advanced users would find it immensely helpful in quickly building mockups for products pages, marketing material, and more.

15. Moqups

Moqups

Moqups is another wireframe and mockup design tool. It allows easy sharing and team collaboration without downloading any files.

The intuitive user interface makes it easy to use for beginners and powerful enough for advanced users. It comes with a built-in library of thousands of icon sets, fonts, and style library.

16. Piktochart

Piktochart

Piktochart is an easy design tool to create presentations, infographics, flyers, and posters. It comes with dozens of templates to use as a starting point.

You can use it in your browser, so there is no need to install any software. Simply drag and drop to add icons, elements, photos, shapes, lines, and arrows. Rearrange items and add your own text to create professional designs for your marketing campaigns.

Best Web Design Software for HTML Sites

Need to quickly design static HTML sites? These web design software will help you easily design HTML sites without writing any HTML at all.

17. Adobe Dreamweaver

Dreamweaver

Adobe Dreamweaver is one of the most beginner friendly web design software. It allows you to easily create mobile-friendly static HTML websites, stand-alone landing pages, or quick HTML docs.

It is easy for beginners to simply drag and drop to create web pages. Advanced users would find it equally useful with smart coding, autocomplete, compilers, git support, and more.

18. Google Web Designer

Google Web Designer

Google Web Designer is another intuitive and easy to use tool to create HTML-5 based designs, motion graphics, and animations. It can also be used to design banner ads, video ads, and other marketing materials.

You can start from scratch or choose from dozens of templates available in different layouts. Google Web Designer is available as a free download for Mac, Windows, and Linux operating systems.

We hope this article helped you find the best web design software for your design toolkit. You may also want to see our list of the best CRM software and the best business phone services for small businesses.

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

The post How to Choose the Best Web Design Software in 2019 (Compared) appeared first on WPBeginner.



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7 Best WooCommerce Dropshipping Plugins (Compared)


Do you want to start your own dropshipping store using WooCommerce? By default, WooCommerce lacks the features you’ll need to efficiently run a dropshipping business.

Luckily, there are several excellent WooCommerce dropshipping plugins to fill that gap. These plugins allow you to run a dropshipping store while offering a seamless user experience to your customers.

In this article, we’ll compare the best WooCommerce dropshipping plugins to help you find the best solution for your business.

Comparing the best WooCommerce dropshipping plugins

What is Dropshipping?

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

Due to low overhead, dropshipping has become a popular way to make money online. There are many places where you can find products offered by third-party vendors who are willing to ship it directly to your customers.

You can even get those products shipped with your own branding and packaging. This allows you to build brand recognition to further expand your eCommerce business in the future.

How to Start a Dropshipping Business

Starting your own drop shipping eCommerce business is easy and requires a very small investment.

You’ll need the following items to start a drop shipping business.

  • WordPress Website hosting (This is where your website files will be stored)
  • A domain name (This will be your store’s address e.g. wpbeginner.com)
  • Dropshipping extension for WooCommerce (the platform to build an online store)

Website hosting prices start from $7.99 per month (usually paid annually) and a domain name will cost you around $14.99 per year.

Now, this is a significant amount if you are just starting out.

Luckily, Bluehost, one of the largest hosting companies in the world has agreed to offer WPBeginner users a 60% discount on web hosting and a free domain name. They are also an officially recommended WooCommerce hosting provider.

→ Click Here to Claim This Exclusive Bluehost Offer ←

Basically, you will be able to get started for $2.75 per month.

After you have signed up, Bluehost will automatically install WordPress for you. You’ll receive an email with login details to enter your hosting dashboard.

Bluehost dashboard

From here, you need to login to your WordPress site’s admin dashboard.

Now that your WordPress site is ready, the next step is to install and activate the WooCommerce plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Need more help, see our guide on how to start an online store for detailed instructions.

After you have installed WooCommerce, the next step is to choose a dropshipping plugin. This will help you convert your eCommerce store into a drop shipping platform.

Best WooCommerce Dropshipping Pluginns

There are several WordPress dropshipping plugins, and each of them comes with a different set of features. You need to find the one that works best with your chosen marketplace.

Our #1 criteria for best WooCommerce dropshipping plugin is that it must make it easy to import products.

Following are our top picks for the best WooCommerce dropshipping plugins.

1. AliDropship

AliDropship

AliDropship is an excellent WooCommerce dropshipping plugin made specifically to sell with AliExpress suppliers. It makes it super easy to import products directly from AliExpress into your WooCommerce store.

It allows you to automatically adjust pricing and inventory for dropshipping products. You can set pricing variables to automatically adjust pricing based on your profit settings.

The plugin automates order fulfillment with just the click of a button. It also tracks your orders and sends notification emails to customers about their order status.

It costs $89 (one-time payment) with free updates, lifetime usage, and unlimited orders and products.

2. WooDropship

WooDropship

WooDripship helps you easily import products from AliExpress into your WooCommerce store. It comes with a Google Chrome extension which allows you to quickly add products to your store while browsing AliExpress.

The plugin automatically syncs product inventory to make sure that your users don’t end up ordering an out of stock product. It also automatically syncs pricing, and you can even set rules to automatically add pricing with your desired profit margin.

WooDropship also helps you import product images and edit them to remove AliExpress watermark.

The pricing starts from $14.99 per month with limited products and orders. IF you want unlimited orders, then you’ll need their highest plan which costs $49.99 per month.

3. DropshipMe

DropshipMe

DropshipMe is another WordPress dropshipping plugin that allows you to import products from a curated list of best-selling dropshipping items. This allows you to easily build a fully functional store with detailed product data.

All product titles, description, and images are already optimized for best conversions. It also imports real customer reviews to add social proof to your product pages.

DropshipMe also picks the best suppliers with a proven track record to make sure that your orders are delivered on time and match the customer expectations.

Their pricing is based on the number of packages you import. You pay once to import those products and then buy another package to import more products if needed.

4. WP Amazon Shop

WP Amazon Affiliate and Dropshipping

WP Amazon Shop is an Amazon affiliate and dropshipping plugin. As the name suggests, the plugin works with Amazon and allows you to easily search millions of products right from your WordPress dashboard.

You can select and import Amazon products into your WooCommerce store with just a few clicks. It automatically adds your affiliate ID into the product URLs.

It also allows you to add automatic percentage base pricing for dropshipping. This way you don’t need to adjust pricing for each product that you import. The plugin also allows you to import product images to your website. You can then crop and edit images in WordPress to your own liking.

Pricing for the plugin starts from $59 for a single site license.

5. WooCommerce Dropshipping

WooCommerce Dropshipping

WooCommerce Dropshipping extension allows you to import products using a CSV file. You can also manually add suppliers to your WooCommerce store.

It automatically sends order notification emails to the supplier for order fulfillment. It also generates a PDF packaging slip for the vendor to place on the shipment.

Unlike the other plugins on our list, WooCommerce Dropshipping does not allow you to search for products and import them on the fly. It also does not have dynamic pricing, product availability sync, and some other features offered by popular plugins on this list.

Pricing for the plugin starts from $49 for a single site license with 1 year of support and updates.

Bonus Plugins for WooCommerce Dropshipping Stores

Apart from your dropshipping extension, you’ll need other plugins to grow your website. Following are a few plugins that’ll help you run and grow your dropshipping business.

6. MonsterInsights

MonsterInsights

MonsterInsights is the best Google Analytics plugin for WordPress. It allows you to track your best selling products in WooCommerce which helps you make data-driven decisions when choosing products for your dropshipping store.

You can also use MonsterInsights to track WooCommerce users in Google Analytics. Using this metric, you can see how users interact with products on your store.

7. WooCommerce Add-on for WP All Import

WooCommerce WP All Import

WooCommerce add-on for WP All Import plugin allows you to easily import products into your existing dropshipping store from any XML or CSV file.

It comes with an intuitive drag-and-drop importer that allows you to select or exclude any products on the fly. You can import external products, product images, variable products, and more.

We hope this article helped you find the best WooCommerce dropshipping plugins for your eCommerce store. You may also want to see our list of the best WooCommerce themes to build a stunning dropshipping store.

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



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


Are you looking for the best WordPress popup plugin? A good WordPress popup plugin helps you convert website visitors into email subscribers and paying customers.

There are dozens of WordPress popup plugins that can help you improve conversion rates.

However, most of them will either slow down your website, offer inaccurate statistics, or worst both.

In this article, we’ll compare the most popular WordPress popup plugins on the market, so you can see which is the best WordPress popup plugin.

Comparing the best WordPress popup plugins

3 Things to Watch Out for with WordPress Popup Plugins

Popups need to be used carefully. Poorly made WordPress popups can easily become annoying and ruin the user experience along with your brand’s reputation.

You need to pick a solution that offers proper behavior interaction, targeting, and personalization features, so you can offer the best user experience while ensuring maximum conversions.

Performance is another issue with most WordPress popup plugins. Since many WordPress popup plugins use WordPress to track analytics, this significantly increase the server load and slow down your website. As you already know, a slow page speed negatively affects your SEO rankings.

This is why you need a WordPress popup plugin that offers powerful conversion features without slowing down your site.

Last but not least, you need to make sure that the WordPress popup plugin that you choose actually works with your WordPress hosting environment. A lot of popup plugins are poorly coded, so their advanced features like A/B testing and reporting will not work with most advanced caching solutions that many hosting companies are now using.

The main purpose of using a popup plugins for WordPress is to help you capture leads and boost your email list subscribers.

You need to watch out for the above 3 things when choosing the WordPress popup plugin for your website or online store.

Contenders for The Best WordPress Popup Plugins

Now that you know the common problems with most WordPress popup builders, you can use it as a criteria to evaluate all popular WordPress popup plugins.

Now since there are dozens of popup plugins, this process can be rather time consuming.

That’s why, we did the research for you. Here are the best WordPress popup plugins that we will be comparing in our guide:

  • OptinMonster
  • TrustPulse
  • Bloom
  • Sumo
  • Thrive Leads

Now let’s take a look at each of them to find out which one is the best WordPress popup plugin to help you grow your website.

1. OptinMonster

OptinMonster

OptinMonster is the most popular lead generation software on the market. It allows you to easily convert website visitors into subscribers and customers.

It comes with a powerful WordPress popup builder and the most comprehensive set of targeting and personalization features. Simply put, it allows you to maximize your conversion potential like a marketing pro.

Features

OptinMonster dashboard

OptinMonster offers the most powerful set of targeting and personalization features in the market. They allow you to create different campaigns including popups, full screen welcome mats, floating bar, scroll boxes, etc.

Their targeting features allow you to target users by page they’re visiting, activity on your site, their geo-location, and literally dozens more.

You can create your own rules to display a popup which makes them more personalized and highly effective.

Below are some of OptinMonster’s most notable features:

  • Beautifully designed non-intrusive lightbox popups
  • Exit-intent popups which are displayed when a user is about to leave your site
  • Powerful targeting options with page level, geo-targeting, on-site retargeting, device based targeting, and more.
  • Adblock detection to display targeted messages to users
  • Device targeting with Mobile-friendly campaigns that look good on smaller devices
  • Trigger popups with exit intent, scrolling, inactivity sensors, time based triggers, and more
  • Dozens of ready-made beautiful popup templates
  • Drag and drop popup maker to easily create popups with your own images, fonts, and style
  • Multiple campaign types such as inline/after post optins, floating notification bar, countdown timers, fullscreen welcome mat, coupon wheel popups, and more.
  • Monster-links popups which trigger a popup by clicking on a link
  • Yes/No popups, two-step popups, and success message customization
  • Integrates with all top email marketing services, contact form plugins, eCommerce platforms, and more.

Looking at all the features, we can confidently say that it is the most comprehensive WordPress popup builder on the market. It has all that you’ll need to instantly grow your email list and boost conversions.

Performance

The biggest advantage of using OptinMonster comes with performance. It is a SaaS application which means that it does not use your WordPress hosting resources.

It loads asynchronously, which means it also does not slow down your perceived page load speed. This is crucial not just for user experience but also for SEO.

Last but not least, since OptinMonster doesn’t use WordPress to store analytics, your stats will be the most accurate and it will work with any hosting environment.

Ease of Use

OptinMonster comes with an intuitive drag and drop popup builder. You can simply design your own popups by adding a background, choosing colors, images, fonts, with your own text and sign up form.

OptinMonster popup builder

However, if you don’t want to do that, then you’ll find beautiful ready-made popup templates to choose from. Each of these templates is fully customizable using a simple point and click editor.

Adding popups to your website is also very easy. You don’t need to edit any WordPress files or add code to your website. You can simply install their WordPress connector plugin.

Pricing: Starting from $9 per month (billed annually).

Bonus: WPBeginner users can use our OptinMonster coupon to get 10% Off.

Disclosure: OptinMonster is the popup plugin that we use on WPBeginner. Many popular bloggers and businesses use OptinMonster including the likes of Social Media Examiner, Michael Hyatt, NBA, and more.

WPBeginner’s founder, Syed Balkhi, is the co-founder of OptinMonster. He had this plugin built to help us get more email subscribers. Now he serves as an advisor to the company.

2. TrustPulse

TrustPulse

TrustPulse is a WordPress popup plugin that uses social proof to help you boost conversions on your website.

It shows social-proof notifications on your website to help build user trust, trigger FOMO (fear of missing out) effect, and encourages more users to signup or make a purchase.

Features

TrustPulse helps you instantly win user trust by sharing social proof using less-intrusive but highly effective popups. Here are some of the features that make it unique among our list of best WordPress popup plugins.

TrustPulse popup

  • Triggers FOMO – It uses urgency and social proof to trigger FOMO effect (fear of mission out). This encourages users to sign up or complete a purchase.
  • Real-time Tracking – It shows real-time purchases, activity, and signups
  • Smart-targeting – Show social proof popup to the right users at the right time
  • Customize popup – Use the default design or make it your own with easy customization options

Performance

If you run an eCommerce business, then speed is crucial for more sales on your website. TrustPulse does not affect your page load speed and improves the user experience at the same time.

It is a SaaS app and does not use your WordPress hosting resources. All the code used to display popups loads asynchronously from the cloud servers.

Ease of Use

TrustPulse comes with an insanely easy to setup process. The default social proof popup works with very little modifications.

Creating a popup campaign in TrustPulse

It has an easy to use interface, which allows you to customize popup, set up targeting, view stats, and run customized campaigns on your online store.

Pricing: Free 500 sessions per month and then pricing starts from $4 per month (billed annually).

3. Bloom

Bloom

Bloom is a popular WordPress popup plugin made by Elegant Themes one of the oldest commercial WordPress theme shops. Available, as a standalone WordPress plugin, Bloom provides an easy to use WordPress popup maker for bloggers.

Features

Bloom comes with a decent set of features covering the basic requirements you would need from a good WordPress popup plugin.

Bloom user interface

  • Automatic lightbox popup
  • Multiple optin types including sidebar, slide-in, and below post signup forms.
  • Basic post or page level targeting
  • Basic time delay, scroll, form submission triggers
  • Pre-built popup templates with easy customization
  • Integrates with popuplar email service providers

Performance

Bloom comes as a stand-alone WordPress plugin, which means it loads all the code from your WordPress site. This means it uses your server resources and affects your page load time.

It tries to mitigate by optimizing the code and using WordPress best practices. However, if you have a busy site on limited server resources then this will slow down website performance.

Based on your WordPress caching plugin settings, reporting stats and features like A/B testing might misbehave.

Ease of Use

Bloom is extremely easy to use with simple drag and drop popup maker. Creating new optins with Bloom is straightforward and the user interface is quite easy to figure out.

Choose a popup template in Bloom

The trouble comes in when you are configuring display settings. There are too many options to choose from, which makes the user interface a bit confusing.

Pricing: Comes with Elegant Themes mebership starting from $89 per year.

4. Sumo

SumoMe

Sumo is a free popup plugin for WordPress which allows you to add popups to your website. They offer a premium version which offers more options.

Sumo panel in WordPress dashboard

Features

  • Allows you to create free WordPress popup and opt-in form
  • You can use multiple optin forms
  • Connects with popular email marketing platforms
  • Comes with different styles and templates to use
  • Includes basic A/B testing and stats for your forms

The free version is limited in features and adds Sumo branding to your popups.

Performance

Sumo loads code asynchronously which reduces the impact on performance. Depending on your campaign design, the effect on performance may vary.

Ease of Use

Sumo integrates with your WordPress site. However, you’ll need to manage your account from their website and use the Sumo dashboard to design your campaigns.

Design your popup with Sumo dashboard

It comes with a bit of a learning curve. The campaign builder is not the easiest but you’ll find your way around. We found it a bit harder to use particularly when it came to integrations and targeting.

5. Thrive Leads

Thrive Leads

Thrive Leads is another popular popup plugin for WordPress. It comes with beautiful popup templates and an easy to use popup builder.

Features

Thrive Leads is designed to help you capture leads on your WordPress site and grow your email list. Here is a quick overview of its features.

Thrive Leads

  • Multiple optin types including lightbox popup, inline forms, 2-step optin, slide in forms, and more
  • Simple drag and drop editor to customize sign up forms
  • Basic A/B testing and analytics for your forms
  • Page level targeting including categories, tags, post types, and more
  • Works with all popular email services
  • Mobile friendly popups for small devices

Performance

Thrive Leads does try to balance out performance and features. However, it is still slower than some other solutions on our list.

It is a standalone WordPress plugin, which means all the code resides on your WordPress site and utilizes your hosting resources.

This also means that like Bloom, features like reporting and A/B tests may not work properly on certain hosting companies or with popular caching plugins.

Ease of Use

Thrive Leads is pretty straight-forward to use and comes with multiple templates. It also comes with a basic popup maker with drag and drop functionality to customize your popup form.

Thrive Leads builder interface

There is a slight learning curve involved in displaying optins on your website. Many beginners would struggle a bit when setting up a popup.

You’ll see different options for Lead groups, lead shortcodes, Thrive boxes, and other features without much explanation. This means users will have to explore them to learn what they do.

Pricing: Starting from $67 per year for a single site license.

Performance Comparison of Top WordPress Popup Plugins

For this article, we decided to actually try each WordPress popup plugin and test their impact on a website’s performance and speed.

Basically, we created a demo website and used the default settings of each plugin to create a basic WordPress popup. After that, we used Pingdom to test page load speed.

Following are the results of our tests.

Popup Plugin Page Load time Requests Page size
OptinMonster 1.03s 17 225KB
TrustPulse 894ms 14 130KB
Bloom 1.23s 22 188.8KB
Sumo 1.24s 41 575.5KB
Thrive Leads 1.38s 26 736.4KB

In our results, we found OptinMonster to be the fastest WordPress popup plugin with the least effect on performance.

Conclusion: Which is The Best WordPress Popup Plugin?

Considering the criteria we set up, OptinMonster comes up as the best WordPress popup plugin. It is the fastest popup builder and comes with incredible tools to boost conversion rates.

It is also the easiest to use with beautiful popup templates and a powerful drag and drop editor. It works with all popular CRMs, email marketing platforms, best WordPress form plugins, custom HTML forms, and more.

Showing your popups at the right time to right users is what makes them more effective. OptinMonster includes powerful page level targeting options, personalization, and event-based triggers.

If you are running an eCommerce store, then we would recommend OptinMonster + TrustPulse. This allows you to maximize conversions with social proof and OptinMonster’s powerful cart abandonment features.

We hope this article helped you pick the best WordPress popup plugin for your website. You may also want to see our article on tested and easy ways to grow your email list.

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

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



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How to Choose the Best Business VoIP Provider in 2019 (Compared)


Are you looking to choose a business VoIP provider but not sure which one is right for your needs?

VoIP is a term used for business phone service which allows you to use advanced call management features on your computer or mobile device.

Unlike the old school bulky phone setup, business VOIP is a perfect phone solution for small businesses. You can cut down phone costs while enjoying all the powerful tools to grow your business.

In this article, we will explain what is business VoIP, and how to choose the best business VoIP provider for your company. Since we had to choose a VoIP provider for our own business, we will also share our best VoIP phone providers for small and growing businesses.

Best business VoIP services compared

What is VoIP?

VoIP or Voice over IP is a term used to describe internet phone service. Unlike a traditional phone service which uses the landline, VoIP services use the internet to receive and make calls.

Benefits of using VoIP

Following are just some of the benefits of using a business VoIP phone system:

  • You can receive calls using computers, VoIP phonesets, and even cell phone.
  • You can share one number with several employees.
  • You can easily track call duration, hold times, wait times, and overall usage.
  • Most business VoIP services come with call forwarding, caller ID, call waiting, call routing, and more.
  • You can use the same number anywhere you want.
  • It gives you a business phone number, so you don’t have to share your personal cellphone number with clients.
  • Business VoIP offers cheaper local and international calls.

The business VoIP technology offers a lot of flexibility and freedom, and it has made it easy for businesses of all sizes to have a business phone number. Whether you’re a small 1 person company, a growing 10 people team, or established business with over 100+ people, you can use business VoIP.

However if you don’t choose the best business VoIP provider, then you can run into some serious challenges.

For example, the voice quality on VoIP calls varies depending on the internet connection and the service provider you’re using. Unlike landlines, you’ll loose VoIP connection during a power outage or internet disruption, but this shouldn’t impact most small businesses if you’re well prepared.

Having said that, let’s discuss when is the right time to start thinking about a business VoIP solution.

Does Your Business Need VoIP Business Phone Solution?

In any business, giving people a way to contact you is helpful in building trust and boost your sales.

When starting a website, most business owners add a contact form, which makes it easy for users to contact you via email.

However depending on the industry, sometimes customers may prefer more instant communication.

This is why many businesses offer live chat or phone number on their websites. Giving users more than one way to communicate with your business can improve customer support and result in more sales.

Whether you run an online store to sell products or a business website to sell services, a VoIP based business phone service can help you grow your business without the high costs.

Your website visitors can easily call you to request a quote, ask a pre-sale question, or even request support.

In short, business VoIP phone enables you to better manage and track your calls, collect customer information, and build stronger relationships with your customers.

How to Choose The Best VoIP Service Your Business

There are a lot of large companies offering business VoIP services, and it’s a very competitive space. The abundance of choices and highly competitive nature of advertising makes it difficult for business owners to choose the best VoIP provider for their business.

If you are just starting out, then you may be looking for the cheapest VoIP business phone service. However, you need to be careful when going down this route because they may lack certain features, which you’d later discover to be essential for your business.

Then there are some business VoIP services that are not easy to implement, transfer, or simply too expensive.

When comparing business VoIP providers for our business, we looked for a balance of features and reasonable cost. Here’s a quick checklist that we used:

  • Cost of local vs international calls. Most business VoIP services offer different plans for international calls. You need to choose a provider based on the geographic location of your customers.
  • Features available in the VoIP plans. Many companies offer different features while some sell them as separate add-ons which would increase your costs.
  • Mobile apps and features that you can share among multiple users.
  • Third-party integrations that you can use to connect your VoIP service to other tools like your CRM software, email marketing service, and more.

That being said, let’s take a look at our pick of the best business VoIP providers.

1. Nextiva

Nextiva

Nextiva is the best business VoIP service on the market. We can say this confidently because while researching for a VoIP service for our own business, we ended up choosing Nextiva.

Their business VoIP service offers all the essential features needed by a growing business including call routing, free domestic calling, voicemail to email and text, online fax, and more.

Other standard features include free number porting, caller ID, call forwarding, custom greetings, hold music, and more.

They also offer a free local or toll-free number with their plans.

We were able to quickly setup professional sounding welcome message with directory and phone routing which helps make our small business compete with the big guys.

What we really liked about Nextiva was their support team was extremely helpful from pre-sales all the way to onboarding and setup.

Even though we didn’t need any fancy desk phone sets, they gave us a full demo and showed us how we can easily use Nextiva with traditional desk phones or conference phones as our business grows.

The best part was they went above and beyond even though we’re a relatively small customer for them considering they help large businesses like Taco Bell, Ashleys Furniture, Conan, and others.

Pricing: Starts from $20 / per user / per month. Unlike other business VoIP providers, they don’t require annual contracts. However you can get discounts on buying pre-paid packages, and you can also get lower rates when you add more users to your plan.

2. RingCentral

RingCentral

RingCentral is another excellent business VoIP provider. With RingCentral, you get all the standard feature you would expect from a reliable business VoIP provider like call forwarding, advanced routing, call waiting, caller ID, hold music, and more.

They offer easy integrations with third-party services like Dropbox, G Suite, Salesforce, and more.

Other notable features include online meetings, video calls, screen sharing, conferencing, and an easy to use web-based administration panel.

We first discovered RingCentral organically because they are very well known and a fairly large company in the business VoIP space. While their feature offering is great, their pricing is a bit on the higher end unless you sign the annual contract.

Pricing: Starting from $34.99 / per user every month for the first user. Their monthly pricing drops significantly when you add the second user to $24.99 per user every month. You can also save 40% by switching to the annual plan.

3. GrassHopper

Grasshopper

GrassHopper is a popular business VoIP service suitable for startups and growing businesses.

They offer virtual phone numbers over VoIP platform, allowing call forwarding to any numbers or devices. The downside is that you’ll need a landline for outgoing calls.

They offer all the features you will expect like call waiting, forwarding, hold music, advanced routing, voicemail to email, and more. You can manage it from a computer using your web browser or mobile phone apps.

It works with local, toll-free, vanity numbers, and you can choose from the US, Canada, or UK based numbers.

Pricing: Starting from $29 per month with 1 number and up to 3 extensions. They offer a 10% discount if you sign an annual contract.

4. Phone.com

Phone.com

Phone.com is another popular choice among small business VoIP service providers. They include many European countries and Canada in their local call minutes. If you are operating in those locations, then it could be a cheap business VoIP service for your needs.

Their service includes call forwarding, routing, waiting, custom greetings and music, conferencing, and more. You can also integrate your VoIP plan to popular CRM software like Salesforce or Zoho.

Pricing: Starting from $12.99 per month with 300 monthly minutes. Their unlimited plan starts at $29.99 per month per user extension.

5. Vonage

Vonage

Vonage is famous for offering residential VoIP however they also offer business VoIP services for small to medium-sized businesses as well as enterprise clients. They offer a wide range of business communication tools including VoIP.

It includes all the usual features such as call forwarding and routing, caller ID, waiting, and more. Apart from that, they also offer team messaging and chat, conference calling, CRM integration, automatic call attendant, call recording, and more.

They offer different plans each with different features and limitations.

Pricing: Their base plan starts from $19.99 per month per line.

Which is the Business VoIP Provider for You?

Above we have shared the best business VoIP providers in the market today. Each of them offer a slightly different product and service at different prices.

When looking for a business VoIP solution for our company, we did extensive research to compare each of these companies, their ratings on top user review websites, and even what their employees were saying about them.

At the end, we ended up choosing Nextiva for our business.

We recommend using Nextiva as the best business VoIP provider. Their plans are suitable for businesses of all sizes with an impressive set of features and great customer service.

They offer fair pricing, do not require annual contracts, and their customer service is top-notch.

RingCentral came as a close second. They offered a lot of the same features, but at the end it came down to pricing where Nextiva clearly won.

We hope this article helped you find the best business VoIP provider for your business. You may also want to see our list of most useful tools to manage and grow your website.

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



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7 Best CRM Software for Small Businesses (Compared)


Are you comparing the best CRM software for small businesses? CRM software helps you manage customer relationships, increase sales, manage leads, and grow your business.

Due to the critical role Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software plays in your business success, it’s extremely important that you properly research the industry and compare the top CRM providers before making your decision.

In this article, we will show you our expert pick of the best CRM software for small businesses. We will compare popular CRM software in terms of features and share the pros and cons to help you choose the best platform.

Comparing the best CRM software for small businesses

What is a CRM Software?

CRM software or Customer Relationship Management software is a tool that helps you manage customer data and offer streamlined customer services across your business.

Most businesses need a contact manager to handle contact details of their customers and prospects. In the early stages of most companies, this is typically done manually through spreadsheets or simple contact management tools.

However, these processes become inefficient as your business grows, and if you don’t fix the problem fast enough, then it can lead to significant loss in opportunity / sales.

A CRM software helps solve the problem by storing all aspects of customer relationship into a database and making it easily accessible. It allows your marketing, sales, and customer support teams to have all the data at their fingertips when needed.

CRM software are incredibly useful in increasing sales, building customer relationships, and providing amazing customer services. Your customers get more personalized, more attentive, and highly efficient service.

What to Look for in Your CRM Software?

Since there are so many different CRM software companies out there, it becomes quite overwhelming for small businesses to decide which one is the best CRM for their needs.

Here are some quick tips on choosing the best CRM software for your business:

1. Ease of Use – A recent survey revealed that 67% of businesses put ease of use as the most important feature of their CRM software. You and your team will be using it for several hours every day. If the CRM is not easy to use, then it will not you help achieve your business goals.

2. Cloud and Mobile – In 2008, less than 12% of CRM software ran on the cloud. Today, 87% of CRMs are cloud-based software. It is more secure, faster, and easy to integrate with other apps and services.

Another study by the Nucleus Research revealed that 65% of companies using a mobile-friendly CRM, exceeded their sales targets. This means you want to look for a CRM software that is mobile-friendly.

This makes it convenient for your teams to meet their targets. Your customers get quicker responses and don’t have to wait for hours just to get quick answers.

3. Make a Features List – You need to make a list of features that you need in your CRM software. Don’t worry if you can’t think of all the features right away. This exercise will give you an idea of what would be a good fit for your business.

CRM software are not just an address book of your customers’ contact information. They are useful because they integrate into your marketing, sales, and lead generation.

They help you manage every aspect of a customer’s journey with your business with great detail. You would need to see how you can integrate the specific CRM software with your existing business process and sales activities.

4. Integrations – Many modern CRM software include a ton of features. However, you would still need to get them to work with other apps, like your WordPress site, lead generation software, email marketing service, business email service, social media platforms, and more. Make sure that your CRM software supports those integrations.

For example, if you are running a membership website or online store, then you would need your CRM to integrate with your membership plugin or eCommerce platform.

These are just some very basic requirements that you would want to check. You may also want to consider pricing, the ability to add users and departments, security, GDPR compliance, and more.

That being said, let’s take a look at the top CRM software on the market and how they stack up on these criteria.

1. HubSpot

HubSpot

HubSpot is the best CRM software for small businesses looking for a cost-effective solution to get started. It offers free plans for their CRM, Marketing, Sales, and Sevice hubs.

The free HubSpot CRM comes with unlimited users and unlimited contacts. It is also free forever.

However, many of the features are limited or unavailable in the free plan. To access the powerful features, you will need to upgrade to one of their paid plans under the Growth Suite.

HubSpot is quite easy to use, and you can connect marketing, sales, and service hubs to your CRM software. This provides you a wide range of tools to efficiently manage the customer journey.

With an easy user interface, you get a bird’s eye view of your entire sales pipeline on your dashboard. You can view detailed reports, all contact activity, sales activities, and user/team performance.

HubSpot offers a comprehensive set of features including a mobile app for iPhone and Android, contact manager, email templates, real-time notifications, phone calls, email tracking, scheduling, and more.

Integrations are crucial for CRM software. HubSpot integrates with more than 300 apps and services including WordPress, top email marketing companies, lead generation software like OptinMonster, and many more.

Pricing: HubSpot offers core CRM platform for free. For more features, you can upgrade to their paid plans for Marketing, Sales, and Service hubs or upgrade to Growth Suite, which starts from $113 / month and includes 1 user ($38 per month for each additional user).

2. Constant Contact

Constant Contact

Constant Contact is a popular email marketing and CRM software. It allows you to easily store contacts, manage customer information, send emails, and track customer activity from your dashboard.

It is extremely easy to use with simple reports, detailed activity logs for each contact, and powerful drag and drop tools to send out emails. You can schedule emails, create sales funnels, and have easy marketing automation for beginners.

Constant Contact has a huge marketplace of integrations available for third-party apps. Many of the popular services and tools that you are already using like WPForms can be instantly connected to Constant Contact.

For eCommerce stores, Constant Contact offers integrations with all top eCommerce platforms. It includes eCommerce tools which help you capture, engage, and convert leads into paying customers.

Pricing: Their pricing is based on the number of contacts and starts from $20 per month. However, if you want to add team members then you will need their Plus plan which starts at $45 per month.

WPBeginner users get a free 60 day trial, and you can also get a 20% off if you use our Constant Contact coupon code.

Click here to get Started with Constant Contact »

3. PipeDrive

PipeDrive

PipeDrive is a sales driven CRM software for businesses. It offers a complete sales pipeline management with an intuitive user interface that gives you quick access to all the information you need.

Designed for sales teams, it includes features like sales reporting, sales forecasting, detailed activity log, advanced contact details, email integrations, and customizable pipelines.

It has a growing selection of integration apps allowing you to connect your CRM system to other services you already use. It also has mobile apps for iOS and Android allowing you to stay connected and get things done.

Pricing: Their plans start from $12.50 per user per month billed annually.

4. Freshsales

Freshsales

Freshsales is another popular CRM software suitable for businesses of all sizes. It features a sales-oriented approach with tools to maximize your conversions.

They offer a one-stop dashboard that gives you instant access to reports, activities, phone calls, emails, users, and contact management. It has an intuitive web based interface and has powerful mobile apps to help your teams make sales on the go.

Freshsales uses AI-powered lead scoring which helps you prioritize leads more likely to convert. Other notable features include visual sales pipelines, actionable insights into conversations, event tracking, custom workflows, and more.

It has native integrations available for some of the most popular third-party services. Several more integrations are available as third-party apps. However, the number of integrations is a bit limited at the moment.

Pricing: Plans start from $12 per month per user billed annually.

5. Drip (Ecommerce)

Drip

Drip is another popular eCommerce CRM software designed to increase sales. Featuring an intuitive user interface, it is incredibly easy to use yet extremely powerful.

It is loaded with features including marketing automation, advanced contact management, actionable reports, email campaigns, one-on-one conversations, eCommerce user tracking, and more.

Drip comes with native integrations for all top third-party services. This includes email services, lead generation software, SMS services, WooCommerce, Shopify, and many more. It offers workflows to generate leads from Facebook and Instagram which helps you get tapped into their massive user base.

Pricing: Drip’s plans start from $49 / month for up to 2500 contacts.

6. Streak CRM for Gmail

StreakCRM

Streak is a CRM software for Gmail and works with both free Gmail accounts as well as G Suite. It allows you to track customer emails in Gmail, manage contacts, track leads, and manage sales pipelines.

It automatically captures leads from your contacts, allows you to add tasks and reminders, add tags and notes, create custom pipelines, schedule emails, and so much more.

It comes as a browser add-on as well as mobile app for Android and iOS. It supports third-party integrations through Gmail and Zapier, this gives you access to share data across multiple tools and services.

Pricing: They offer a limited free plan for personal use. Their paid plans start from $49 per user per month billed annually.

7. AgileCRM

AgileCRM

AgileCRM is a powerful all-in-one CRM software. It packs contact management, sales, marketing and customer service in one convenient dashboard.

It offers sales tools with 360 degree contact view, detailed reports, timeline, calendar, events, project management, deals, and gamification for your sales team. You get access to quick reports that you can drill down to keep track of everything that is happening across your business.

AgileCRM includes marketing tools to generate and capture leads, send out emails, newsletters, landing pages, forms, and social media marketing tools.

Pricing: AgileCRM offers a limited free plan. Their paid plans start from $9.99 per user per month billed annually or $8.99 per user billed for 2-years.

Which is the Best CRM Software for Small Business?

As we mentioned earlier that you’ll have to compare CRM tools based on your businesses requirements and goals.

Based on the criteria we defined earlier, we believe that HubSpot is the best CRM software for small businesses. It is easy to use and offers a comprehensive set of features. They offer a free plan which is good enough for small businesses to get started.

If email is the primary source of leads and sales for your business, then Constant Contact is the best option. It offers an easy to use contact management tool that you can effectively use to boost sales and manage customer relations. Their pricing is very friendly for small businesses.

If you’re looking for a completely sales focused CRM, then we recommend using either PipeDrive or FreshSales because they’re both sales-driven CRM, and they will help you improve your sales processes.

If you’re an eCommerce brand, and you need a CRM that comes with eCommerce focused marketing automation, then look no further than Drip. It is extremely powerful and worth every single penny because it’ll definitely help you grow your overall sales.

We hope this article helped you find the best CRM software for your business. You may also want to see our list of the must have WordPress plugins for business websites, best business phone services, and best live chat software for small business.

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The post 7 Best CRM Software for Small Businesses (Compared) appeared first on WPBeginner.



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