Tag - Site

How to Get Google Sitelinks for Your WordPress Site


One of the questions we often get asked from readers is: how do I get additional links to appear under my site’s search results in Google?

Sometimes when you search for a company name in Google (like “wpbeginner”), you may notice that the search listing is larger than others because it contains sitelinks to other important pages from the website.

These sitelinks in Google helps your brand stand out and get more exposure. In this article, we will share how you can get Google sitelinks for your WordPress site.

How to Get Google Sitelinks in WordPress

Since this is a comprehensive guide on adding Google sitelinks, we have created a table of content for easy browsing:

  • What are Google Sitelinks?
  • Why are Google Sitelinks Important?
  • How to Get Google Sitelinks for Your WordPress Site
  • How to Add Google Sitelinks Search Box

Google sitelinks are additional sub-pages that appear under the first site in search engine ranking results (SERPs). These are often internal links to the most popular pages of that website. Google sitelinks are often shown when you search for a specific brand keyword because they help the user easily navigate around the website.

The exact number of Google sitelinks may vary for each website. A typical brand name search in Google can contain two, four, or six sitelinks displayed underneath the website name.

Here’s an example of what a Google sitelink looks like:

What are Google Sitelinks?

Google sitelinks are chosen by their algorithm to provide the best user experience because it allows users to head directly to the top pages without extra clicks.

If your website is brand new or does not get a lot of traffic, then Google may not display any sitelinks for your keyword.

Don’t worry, we’ll share some tips on how to influence Google sitelinks for your website. But before we do, let’s talk about why Google sitelinks are important.

Google sitelinks are coveted by business owners and SEO professionals because they help your brand stand out. Here are the top 5 reasons why Google sitelinks are important.

1. Google Sitelinks Improve Your Click-Through-Rate (CTR)

Studies show that the top 3 spots in Google get the most clicks. When sitelinks are shown for a specific brand, it takes up the same amount of space as three regular search listings.

This significantly increases your overall click-through rate. Simply put, more visitors will visit your website from the keyword.

Google Search Click-Through-Rate by Position

2. Google Sitelinks Help Build Trust and Credibility

As we mentioned earlier, Google Sitelinks are not shown for all websites. When Google display sitelinks for a brand, it means that a website is popular, well-optimized, and/or that Google believes the results are useful for the visitor.

Google sitelinks take up a lot of screen space (a.k.a digital real-estate). This tells the user that Google believes the #1 result is a lot more relevant than others on the page.

Google Sitelinks Above the Fold (Digital Real Estate)

On mobile, the same sitelinks take even more screen space, further highlighting the brands credibility.

3. Google Sitelinks Can Increase Product Awareness

Google sitelinks highlight the most important pages on the website. This is based on what Google’s algorithm believes to be the most relevant to the user’s search intent.

For a company like OptinMonster, this works out great because it lets new users quickly become aware of their product, features, pricing, and even blog content.

Google Sitelinks Key Product Pages

A new user may not know that the OptinMonster blog has the best conversion optimization tips, but because of Google sitelinks they’re more likely to check it out.

For an eCommerce website or online store, Google sitelinks may even show more personalized results to help users quickly discover and purchase available products.

For example, when we search for Apple, Google sitelinks are personalized to not only show the top Apple products but also the closest physical Apple stores.

Google Sitelinks Personalized Results

This lets us easily discover Apple’s top products, and even have one-click access to the stores, hours, and directions. This is extremely helpful and makes it much more likely for the user to make a purchase.

4. Google Sitelinks Allow Users to Discover Top Pages

Google sitelinks can also act as a great “Start Here” point for websites with a lot of content. This makes it easier for users to discover the top pages on your website.

For example, if a new user searches for WPBeginner, they will see our most popular (and most helpful) content first such as our Start Here page, our guide on How to Start a Blog, How to Make a Website, our 200+ WordPress tutorials category, our WordPress Beginner’s Guide category, and of course our popular WordPress blog.

WPBeginner Google Sitelinks

5. Google Sitelinks Search Lets Users Browse Deeper Pages

For some websites, Google sitelinks may be accompanied by a dedicated site-specific search box. This Google sitelinks search box allow users to search within the specific website directly from Google.

This is an extremely powerful feature, so Google only adds it for websites with a lot of content because they believe that including a search box will be the most useful for the user.

Google Sitelink search box only appears with sites that contain a lot of content like WPBeginner, YouTube, Wikipedia, etc.

What are Google Sitelinks?

Now that you know the importance of Google sitelinks, let’s take a look at how you can add Google sitelinks to your website.

There’s no guaranteed way to get Google Sitelinks for your website. Unlike other SEO features, there’s no button that you can click in Google Search Console to enable sitelinks for your WordPress site.

Google sitelinks are automated, and they are displayed entirely based on Google’s algorithm. However you can follow certain SEO best practices to significantly improve your chances of getting Google sitelinks for your website.

Let’s take a look at the 8 best practices to get sitelinks for your website.

1. Your Website Name Must be Unique

Google sitelinks are primarily displayed on brand specific search queries, and they’re only added for the site that ranks #1 for that search results.

If you have a generic brand name like “Global HR Expert Consulting”, then you will likely struggle to rank at the top. Even if you get to position #1, Google still has a hard time deciding if the user is really searching for your company or the general topic.

This is why generic brand names don’t have sitelinks:

No Google Sitelinks for Generic Brands

Unless of course your brand becomes a household name like Apple, in which case Google knows the search intent is for people interested in the tech company, Apple, and not the fruit.

Since most companies will not have the marketing budget like Apple to become a worldwide brand, its better to select a more unique name for your company like WPBeginner, OptinMonster, etc.

Now if you already have an established brand, we definitely don’t recommend changing it just to get sitelinks because this is a very complicated task, and it has its own risks. For more details, see our guide on: how to move your site to a new domain.

2. Rank at Position #1 for Your Brand Name

As we mentioned earlier, Google sitelinks are only assigned to the first search result, so you need to work on ranking #1 for your brand term.

This can take some time for a new company, but with enough promotion you can get there.

For example, our new website, WP Mail SMTP, doesn’t rank #1 for its keyword, so we don’t have Google sitelinks yet.

Whereas our other new website, RafflePress ranks #1, so it has Google sitelinks.

RafflePress Site Link Example

To improve your website’s ranking, you need to follow our WordPress SEO guide and implement the best practices. You also need to do keyword research and write quality blog posts that are optimized for SEO. After that, you need get backlinks to your site.

3. Use Proper Structured Data for SEO

Search engines use automated bots to crawl and index your website. These search engine bots look for structured data to better understand what is the website and the specific page is about.

Structured data can help improve your chances of getting a Google sitelink, featured snippet, and even appear in the answers box.

You can set this up by using a WordPress SEO plugin like Yoast SEO, All in One SEO, or another similar plugin that lets you add meta data and other schema elements.

Again like with anything else, Schema markups or Structured Data doesn’t guarantee that Google will add sitelinks, but it definitely improves your chances.

4. Have Clear Website Structure and Navigation

As a website owner, it is your job to make sure that Google and other search engines can easily find their way around your website.

You can do this by organizing your top pages in well-thought out hierarchical dropdown WordPress menus.

You can add breadcrumb navigation on your website to make it easy for users and search engines to see the site structure.

You also need to make sure that you have the important website pages like About, Pricing, Contact, etc created and linked from various areas of your website.

5. Create a Sitemap and Add Your Site to Google Search Console

Google and other search engines rely on XML sitemaps to properly discover and index all pages from your website.

You need to create an XML sitemap, and then submit it to Google search console.

This will make it easier for Google to discover all the pages on your site, and it can also help increase your chances of getting a Google sitelink.

6. Make Internal Linking a Habit

Internal linking is one of the most important part of on-page SEO. You need to make sure that you’re frequently linking to your top internal pages on your website.

Since Google uses backlinks as a ranking signal, internal linking helps Google see which pages are the most important on your site.

You can see how we have linked to various of our internal website content from this article.

7. Improve Page Titles and Make them Relevant

Page titles are probably the most important on-page SEO element. You need to make sure that your page title is relevant to the keyword you’re trying to rank for.

Google uses page titles to generate the sitelinks, so you need to make sure that your page titles are relevant.

TrustPulse team has done a great job with their page titles:

Google Sitelinks Generated from Page Title

You can define the post or page title inside your WordPress SEO plugin settings for that respective page.

8. Increase Your Brand Awareness

As we mentioned earlier, that Google sitelinks are typically shown for established websites.

You don’t have to be a big brand like Apple or WPBeginner, but you need to raise enough awareness for Google to notice you.

Your website’s authority and presence online plays an important factor in Google’s ranking algorithm.

Here are few things you can do to boost your brand awareness:

  • Create social media profiles for your brand and make sure they link to you
  • Get positive business reviews about your brand on Facebook, Yelp, Google, and other review aggregators.
  • Guest blog on popular industry websites
  • Participate in community discussions and/or give interviews
  • Do press releases and reach out to news outlets to cover your brand

Brand awareness helps increase the number of brand search which is an indicator Google uses to determine if Sitelinks should be added for that particular term.

Just like Google sitelinks, the search box with sitelinks is also added based on Google’s discretion. The Google sitelinks search box is typically dedicated to websites with a large number of content such as WPBeginner, Wikipedia, YouTube etc.

What are Google Sitelinks?

With that said, you can add some code snippets on your website to encourage Google to display a site search box along with your Google sitelinks.

If you’re using the Yoast SEO plugin, then it adds the JSON+LD markup for site search automatically.

If you’re not, then you can use the Sitelinks Search Box plugin to add the relevant JSON LD schema markup.

Frequently Asked Questions about Google Sitelinks

In our Facebook Group and support channels, we have received many questions related to Google sitelinks. Below are the top ones.

How do I remove sitelinks from Google?

In the past, Google allowed webmasters to “demote” sitelinks from the Google search console. However that option was removed to simplify things. The only way to remove a specific page from Google sitelinks is to either delete the page or set it to noindex. There’s no way to disable Google sitelinks once they’re added unless you de-index your entire website which is not recommended.

How do I change Sitelinks in Google?

There is no way to change Sitelinks in Google. The Google algorithm automatically selects the relevant pages on your site and add it to the sitelink. You can customize the page titles, but it’s entirely up to Google as to what text they display. There’s no way to edit the text on Google sitelinks since it’s automated.

Can I pay to get Google sitelinks?

Sometimes beginners can confuse Google sitelinks with the Google Adwords Sitelink extension. When you’re paying for ads, Google lets you use the sitelink extension to add additional sublinks as part of your ad. This does not influence the Google sitelinks on your organic listing.

We hope this article helped you learn how to get Google sitelinks for your WordPress site. You may also want to see our guide on how to increase your blog traffic and how to monetize your blog.

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

The post How to Get Google Sitelinks for Your WordPress Site appeared first on WPBeginner.



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How to Change Your WordPress Site URLs (Step by Step)


Do you need to change your WordPress URL? Whether you’re moving from HTTP to HTTPs, changing your domain name, migrating from local server to live site, or transferring to a subdomain, you will need to know how to change your WordPress site URL.

The WordPress address and site address are extremely important fields because they reference the address of your website on the internet and the location of your website files.

In this article, we will share four different ways to easily change your WordPress site URLs (step by step). This guide will specially come in handy when you are fixing common WordPress errors or moving a WordPress site.

Easily change your WordPress site URLs

Why Change WordPress Site URLs?

There are many reasons why you might need or want to change your WordPress URL. For example:

Apart from that, you may need to change the WordPress address settings if you are seeing too many redirects error in WordPress or when troubleshooting another WordPress error.

WordPress Address vs Site Address

When changing WordPress site URL, you will need to update two separate settings: WordPress Address and Site Address.

This can be confusing for many beginners because they don’t know what’s the difference between the two settings.

Your WordPress Address (URL) is the address where WordPress files and folders are stored including your admin pages, media files, plugins, themes, etc.

Your Site Address (URL) in WordPress is the public facing part of your website. This is what your visitors will type in to reach your website. This is also the link that you put on your business cards.

For majority of users, the WordPress Address and Site Address URL will be the exact same link.

However in some cases, large companies may host their WordPress site on a different server because their corporate website has many other applications, and they want to isolate where each app is hosted.

But for majority of users, these two WordPress URLs need to stay the same.

That being said, let’s take a look at how to easily change WordPress site URLs. We will show you the following methods, and you can choose the one that works best for you.

Ready? let’s get started.

Method 1. Change WordPress Site URLs from Admin Area

This method is the easiest. If you can already access the WordPress admin area, then we recommend using this method.

Simply login to your WordPress website and go to Settings » General page. From here you can change WordPress site URLs under the ‘WordPress Address’ and ‘Site Address’ options.

Change WordPress site URLs in the admin area

WordPress Address and Site Address are usually the same address.

Don’t forget to click on the ‘Save Changes’ button to store your settings. You can now visit your website to make sure that everything is working OK.

Method 2. Change WordPress Site URLs Using functions.php File

This method is recommended for users who cannot access the admin area of their WordPress website.

Simply connect to your WordPress site using an FTP client and go to /wp-content/themes/your-theme-folder/.

Edit WordPress functions file

From here you need to locate the functions.php file and edit it using a plain text editor like Notepad or TextEdit.

Next, you need to add the following code at the bottom:


update_option( 'siteurl', 'https://example.com' );
update_option( 'home', 'https://example.com' );

Don’t forget to replace https://example.com with your own site URLs. You can now save your changes and upload the file back to your website hosting using FTP.

You can now visit your website to see if everything is back to normal.

The advantage of this method is that it updates the site URLs in the database. WordPress updates the database option for site URLs every time your functions file is loaded.

Once everything gets back to normal, don’t forget to remove the two lines of code from your WordPress functions file.

Method 3. Change WordPress Site URLs Using wp-config.php File

This method is only recommended if you are unsure which WordPress theme you need to edit or cannot find the functions.php file.

For this method, you will be adding the site URLs to your WordPress configuration file called wp-config.php. This file is located in the root folder of your website and contains important WordPress settings.

Simply connect to your website using an FTP client and edit the wp-config file. You need to add the following code just above the line that says ‘That’s all, stop editing! Happy publishing’.


define( 'WP_HOME', 'https://example.com' );
define( 'WP_SITEURL', 'https://example.com' );

Don’t forget to replace https://example.com with your own domain name.

You can now save your changes and upload them back to your server. After that, visit your website to make sure that everything is working fine.

Method 4. Change WordPress Site URLs in the Database Using phpMyAdmin

Another way to update WordPress site URLs is by changing them directly in your WordPress database.

First, you need to make a WordPress database backup. This step is really important and will help you undo database changes in case anything goes wrong.

After that, you need to go to your web hosting account’s dashboard and click on the phpMyAdmin icon under the Databases section.

Note: Our screenshot is from Bluehost but most other WordPress hosting companies will also have the ability for you to edit database settings.

phpMyAdmin

Once you click the link, it will launch the phpMyAdmin app, which provides a web-based interface to edit MySQL databases. To learn more about it, see our guide on how to WordPress database management with phpMyAdmin

Inside phpMyAdmin interface, you need to click on your WordPress database from the left column. The app will now display tables inside your WordPress database.

Edit options table

Next, you need to scroll down to the options table. By default the database prefix is wp_ but since you can change WordPress database prefix, your screenshot may have a different prefix.

PhpMyAdmin will now display the rows inside the options table. You need to locate the rows where option_name is siteurl and home.

Edit siteurl and home values

Next, click on the pencil icon on the left to edit each row and change the option_value field to the new site URL. After that, click on the tiny Go button at the bottom right corner to save your database changes.

Edit option_value

You can now visit your website to see if everything is working fine.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Over the years we have helped hundreds of thousands of users create a WordPress website, start a blog, or start an online store. In this time, we have answered many different questions related to changing WordPress URLs. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions.

Why are my WordPress Address and Site Address fields greyed out?

If the WordPress address (URL) is greyed out on the settings page of your admin area, then it means that the URLs are hard coded in the wp-config.php file.

WordPress Address URL Greyed Out

To change your WordPress URL, you will need to follow method 3 in our article to edit the wp-config.php file and change the URL accordingly.

How to recover WordPress after url address change in settings?

Sometimes non-techy users can accidentally change WordPress URL and Site Address settings from the WordPress admin area. To recover from that, you will have to follow our guide above to change the WordPress URLs back using functions.php, wp-config, or the database method.

Is there a WordPress change URL plugin that can bulk update URLs in all blog posts, pages, and other content areas?

Yes, you can either use the Velvet Blues Update URLs plugin or the Better Search Replace plugin.

When you change your WordPress URL, you will need a way to bulk update links through your WordPress posts, pages, and other areas in your database. The above plugins are a huge time saver.

Aside from using them to update URLs when moving websites, we also use them for various other platform migrations such as moving from WordPress.com to WordPress.org, Blogger to WordPress, Weebly to WordPress, etc.

We hope this article helped you easily change the WordPress site URLs. You may also want to see our guide on the must have WordPress plugins, and how to speed up WordPress.

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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25 Most Useful WordPress Widgets for Your Site


Are you looking for useful WordPress widgets for your website?

Widgets allow you to add content, features, and other elements to your WordPress sidebar and other widget-ready areas.

WordPress comes with a handful of built-in widgets that you can use right away. WordPress plugins and themes can also add their own WordPress widgets as well.

In this article, we will share some of the most useful WordPress widgets for your site. These widgets will help you effectively use your website’s digital real estate to improve user experience and grow your business.

Most useful WordPress widgets for your website

1. WP Call Button

WP Call Button

As mobile internet traffic grows, most users find it convenient to just call a business for more information. WP Call Button allows you to easily add a click to call now button to your WordPress site.

You can use it to add a sticky button thats scrolls with the user or use the widget to display the call button in a sidebar.

It works with any landline or mobile phone number, but we recommend using a professional business phone service to make sure that you never miss a call.

For step by step instructions, see our article on how to easily add a click-to-call button in WordPress.

2. WPForms

WPForms

WPForms is the best WordPress contact form plugin on the market. It allows you to quickly create a contact form and add it anywhere on your website.

It comes with a drag and drop form builder, ready-to-use form templates, Gutenberg block, and sidebar widget. It is a premium plugin with a free version available as WPForms Lite.

For details, see our guide on how to create a contact form in WordPress with step by step instructions.

3. RafflePress

RafflePress

RafflePress is the best WordPress giveaway / contest plugin. It allows you to create viral giveaways and contests to instantly get a lot of traffic, new customers, and subscribers.

It allows you to run a giveaway and add it to a post, page, or sidebar widget. You can also create a standalone landing page for your giveaway and promote it across your social profiles.

RafflePress is a paid plugin with a free version called RafflePress Lite.

To learn more, see our guide on how to run a giveaway in WordPress with detailed instructions.

4. Recent Posts Widget with Thumbnails

Recent Posts Widget With Thumbnails

By default, WordPress comes with a recent posts widget, which displays a plain list of your recent posts. Recent Posts Widget With Thumbnails allows you to display recent posts with thumbnails.

It uses the featured image or the first image in a post as thumbnail. You can also adjust the height and width of the image from the widget’s settings screen.

5. Astra Widgets

Astra Widgets

Astra Widgets is widget pack created by the folks behind the popular Astra Theme. It allows you to easily add your business location, social profile links, and an icon list to your WordPress sidebar.

It works with any WordPress theme and is compatible with all popular page builder plugins as well.

6. Simple Social Icons

Simple Social Icons

It is a really simple widget to add social icons to your sidebars. All the configuration options are in the widget’s settings. You can choose which social networks to link to and add your profile URLs.

You can also modify the icon by choosing the background and icon font color. For details, see our tutorial on how to add social media icons in your WordPress sidebar.

This plugin is built by StudioPress, the popular company behind the Genesis Theme Framework (now a subsidiary of WP Engine).

7. Google Maps Widget

Google Maps Widget

An easier way to add a map to your site’s sidebar is by using Google Maps Widget. This simple widget allows you to display a Google map in a widget. When a user clicks on the map, a larger map opens in a lightbox popup.

This is one of the best WordPress widgets for businesses that want to display their address and location on their site. Check out our guide on how to add Google Maps in WordPress for more information.

8. Social Count Plus

Social Count Plus

You may have seen that some popular websites show their social followers count in the sidebar. This adds to the credibility of your website by adding social proof.

Social Count Plus widget allows you to easily display your social media follower count in the sidebar. See our guide on how to display social media followers count in WordPress.

This widget only displays your follower count and not the number of times an article is shared on your website.

If you want to display share counts for individual posts, then we recommend using Shared Counts, which is one of the best social media plugins for WordPress. It will allow you to easily add social sharing buttons to your posts and pages with share count for each social media website.

9. Compact Archives

Compact Archives

The default monthly archives widget shows your blog archives in a long list of months. This can take up a lot of space. Compact Archives solves this problem by grouping your monthly archives into years and displaying them in a compact form.

It also comes with a Gutenberg block that you can add to in your posts and pages. It also includes a widget that you can use in your blog’s sidebar.

For more information check out our tutorial on how to create compact archives in WordPress.

10. OptinMonster

OptinMonster

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

It helps you grow your email list by adding sign up forms in sidebar widgets, lightbox popup, floating bars, and more.

OptinMonster is the best WordPress widget for eCommerce sites and businesses who want to boost their conversions.

11. AdSanity

AdSanity

AdSanity is the best ad management plugin for WordPress. It allows you to easily display ads anywhere on your website and comes with a widget to automatically display ads in your blog’s sidebar.

If you are planning to support your website with Google AdSense, banner ads, or affiliate marketing, then AdSanity helps you maximize your ad space and generate more revenue.

12. Testimonials Rotator

Testimonial Rotator

An easy way to add social proof to your website is by adding customer testimonials to your website. Testimonials Rotator allows you to easily add customer testimonials to your website.

It is one of the best testimonial plugins for WordPress and comes with a nifty widget that allows you to display rotating testimonials in a sidebar. This takes less space and allows you to cleverly use sidebars to boost social trust.

For detailed instructions, see our article on how to add rotating testimonials in WordPress.

13. Feature a Page Widget

Feature a Page Widget

This neat plugin allows you to add a page as a featured page in your WordPress sidebar. You can choose to display a page title, featured image, and excerpt. See this article on how to feature a page in WordPress to learn more.

14. Easy Table of Contents

Easy Table of Contents

Easy Table of Contents plugin allows you to easily add a table of contents to your articles. It comes in handy if you often publish long-form articles. Adding a table of contents helps users quickly jump to different sections.

The plugin can automatically insert a table of contents to longer articles or you can manually add it. Additionally, it also comes with a widget to display the table in the sidebar.

For details, see our article on how to easily add table of contents in WordPress.

15. Widget Context

Widget Context

Widget Context plugin allows you to show and hide widgets based on context. For example, you can hide a widget if a user is viewing a specific page.

This comes in handy if you don’t want to display a widget on certain pages or only want to display it on specific sections. For details, see our article on how to show / hide widgets in WordPress.

16. Q2W3 Fixed Widget for WordPress

Q2W3 Fixed Widget for WordPress

The sidebar widgets usually disappear as a user scroll down your website. Q2W3 Fixed Widget for WordPress allows you to change any widget into a fixed widget that stays on the screen as users scroll down.

This comes in handy if you want to display a special offer, important content, or a newsletter sign up form. For details, see our guide on how to create a sticky floating widget in WordPress.

17. WordPress Popular Posts

WordPress Popular Posts

WordPress Popular Posts is the best popular posts plugin for WordPress. As the name suggests, it allows you to display your most popular posts in WordPress.

The plugin comes with a widget that you can add to a sidebar. You can also use the shortcode or a template tag to display popular posts anywhere on your site.

18. WP-PostRatings

WP-PostRatings

WP-PostRatings plugin allows you to easily add a post rating system to your WordPress website. Your users can then rate articles on your site and provide you with instant feedback.

The plugin also comes with a widget, which you can use to display your top-rated content in your blog’s sidebar.

19. Theme My Login

Theme My Login

Theme My Login is a powerful WordPress plugin that allows you to create a custom login page for your website visitors. It is highly useful if you allow user registration on your website or run a multi-author WordPress blog.

The plugin also comes with a sidebar login widget, which you can use to make it easier for users to log in to their accounts. For details, see our guide on how to create front-end / sidebar login form in WordPress.

20. Advanced AJAX Product Filters

Advanced AJAX Product Filters

Advanced AJAX Product Filters allows you to display an instant product filter for your WooCommerce store. You can allow your users to filter products by price, rating, or attributes by simply adding a filter widget to your sidebar.

21. Google Language Translator

Google Language Translator

Google Language Translator plugin allows you to easily add a language switcher widget to your WordPress site. It uses Google Translate to translate content on your website in any language.

Alternative: TranslatePress allows you to combine Google translate with manual translations to improve the overall quality of your translated content.

22. Widget Importer & Exporter

Widget Importer & Exporter

Now that you have set up your widgets and configured its settings, you may want to move them to another website. This is where Widget Importer & Exporter plugin comes in handy.

It allows you to download all your widgets as JSON file, which you can then import on any other WordPress site. If you are using the same theme and plugins, then all your widgets will be imported exactly as they were.

If you are using a different theme that does not have the same widget areas as the old theme, then those widgets will be imported as inactive widgets. You can then drag and drop them to any widget area you like.

23. The Events Calendar

The Events Calendar

The Events Calendar is one of the best WordPress calendar plugins on the market. It allows you to easily manage event listings on a WordPress website.

You can add new events with full details, display an events calendar in a WordPress post or page, or display upcoming events in a sidebar widget.

24. Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP)

Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP)

Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP) is the best WordPress related posts plugin on the market. It allows you to easily display related content for each article on your website.

It uses an advanced algorithm to match content which allows it to show more contextually related posts than other plugins. It also comes with a widget that you can use to display related posts in a sidebar.

25. Posts in Sidebar

Posts in Sidebar

Posts in Sidebar is a really simple but highly useful plugin. It allows you to show specific posts in a sidebar widget.

You can select which posts you want to show, display them with title, excerpt, and a thumbnail, or plain lists. You can also use it with the Widget Context plugin to show different posts on different areas of your website.

We hope this article helped you find some useful WordPress widgets for your website. You may also want to see our guide on the best WordPress plugins and the best Gutenberg block plugins for 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 25 Most Useful WordPress Widgets for Your Site appeared first on WPBeginner.



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How We Made WordPress Faster than Static Site Generators (Case Study


On the 10th anniversary of WPBeginner, I shared that WPBeginner hosting infrastructure got a huge upgrade thanks to our web hosting partner, HostGator.

Shortly after, I started getting emails from readers asking me to share the details on how we made WPBeginner load blazing fast.

Yes, WPBeginner load faster than most static site generators and in some cases faster than Google AMP sites too.

In this article, I will give you behind the scenes look at how we made WordPress faster than static site generators and headless CMS platforms.

Speeding up WPBeginner - Behind the Scenes

Note: This article is a bit more technical than what we typically publish on WPBeginner. For non-techy users, I recommend following our ultimate guide on how to speed up WordPress.

Background

Lately WordPress has been getting a lot of bad rep from “modern” developers where they say WordPress is slow.

The statement is usually followed up with, you should switch to a JAMstack static site generator like GatsbyJS. Others in the enterprise world will say that you should switch to a headless CMS like Contentful.

Several of my very successful entrepreneur friends started asking me whether this was true.

Some even started the process of migrating to a headless CMS because they read case studies of how others unlocked huge speed improvements by switching from WordPress to static site generators.

This was very frustrating for me because I knew they were wasting tens of thousands of dollars in migration costs. Not to mention, the endless customization costs that will rack up in the future.

So I took it as a challenge to prove that a large WordPress content sites like WPBeginner can load just as fast if not faster than most modern static site generators.

You can call me old school, but at the end of the day, a static site is just a page loading from cache.

Results

Before I jump to the exact WordPress hosting infrastructure, server configurations, and plugins, I think its helpful to share the results.

Here’s how fast WPBeginner home page loads on Pingdom from their Washington, DC server:

WPBeginner Homepage Pingdom

Depending on the time of day and location you check from, this result will vary anywhere from 400ms – 700ms range which is pretty fast for a homepage.

Here’s a test that I ran for a single post page since it has bigger images and more content:

WPBeginner Single Posts Page Speed Test from Pingdom

We also got a perfect score of “100” in Google page speed test for desktop. Although we do have some room for improvement on mobile score.

WPBeginner Google Page Speed Test

The results above are for cached pages which is what our readers and search engine bots get when they view our website. The perceived load time of WPBeginner is near instant (more on this later).

For the sake of comparison, here’s a speed test result for Gatsby’s homepage. This is a popular static site generator that a lot of developers are raving about:

Gatsby Homepage Pingdom

Here’s the speed test result of Netlify’s homepage, a popular static site host, that a lot of developers recommend. Notice that they have half the amount of requests, and their page size is 30% of WPBeginner, yet it still loads slower than our homepage.

Netlify Homepage Pingdom

The homepage speed of Contentful, the headless CMS which is “how enterprises deliver better digital experiences” is just not optimized at all. This was the slowest website we tested.

Contentful Homepage Pingdom

I am sharing these stats not to discredit the other frameworks, but rather to give perspective that not all new things are as shiny as they may seem.

WordPress with a proper hosting infrastructure and optimizations can be just as fast as any static site generator. Furthermore, no other platform will even come close to the level of flexibility that WordPress offers to business owners through its large ecosystem of plugins and themes.

WPBeginner Hosting Infrastructure

When it comes to website speed, nothing plays a more important role than your web hosting infrastructure.

As many of you already know, I have been a HostGator customer since 2007. I started the WPBeginner blog in 2009 on a small HostGator shared hosting account.

As our website grew, we upgraded to their VPS hosting and then dedicated servers.

Over the last decade, I have gotten a chance to work closely with many of their team members, and they have become an extended part of the WPBeginner family.

So when I took on the challenge to make WPBeginner faster than static site generators, I turned to them for help.

I shared my vision with their leadership team, and they offered to help me build one of a kind enterprise hosting setup for WPBeginner.

They put the best engineers from both Bluehost and HostGator team to work closely with me to make WPBeginner blazing fast.

Here’s an overview of what the WPBeginner hosting setup looks like:

WPBeginner Hosting Infrastructure

As you can see, this is a multi-server setup spread across two geographical regions (Texas and Utah). There are a total of 9 servers not including the load balancer cloud. Each server is a Xeon-D CPU with 8 cores (16 threads) with 32GB RAM and 2 x 1TB SSD (RAID setup).

We are using Google’s Cloud Load Balancing platform, so we can have seamless autoscaling and load balancing, worldwide.

Once the hardware was setup with proper data syncing in place, the Bluehost and HostGator team worked together to optimize the server configurations for WordPress. My hope is that some of these optimizations will soon make it into future WordPress hosting plans :)

Server Configuration Summary

Summarizing the server configurations of this complex setup in just a few paragraph is very tough, but I will try my best.

We are using Apache for our web server software because the team is more familiar with it. I won’t go into the NGINX vs Apache debate.

We are using PHP 7.2 along with PHP-FPM pools, so we can handle high loads of processes and requests. If your hosting company is not using PHP 7+, then you’re missing out on serious speed optimization.

We’re using Opcode caching with an advanced cache warmer to ensure that no real user should experience an uncached pageview.

We’re also using Object cache with memcache, so we can improve the response time for uncached page hits and other API response times in the WordPress admin area for logged-in users (our writers). Here’s a network load tab of our “All Posts” screen in the WordPress admin:

WPBeginner Post Edit Screen

To put in perspective, our admin area experience is now 2X faster than what we had previously.

For our database server, we switched from MySQL to MariaDB which is a clone of MySQL but faster and better. We also switched from HyperDB to LudicrousDB because it helps us improve our database replication, failover, and load balancing.

There’s also a lot of other configurations that helps us with performance and scalability such as HTTP/2 and HSTS for faster connection + encryption, ability to spin up additional servers in new regions in case of datacenter outage, etc.

I feel like I’m not doing justice to the amazing setup that the team has built, but please know that my core strength is marketing. Yes, I am a blogger who writes about WordPress, but a lot of the technical optimizations here are way above my pay-grade.

They were done by super smart engineers in Endurance team including David Collins (chief architect of Endurance / CTO of HostGator), Mike Hansen (core WordPress developer), and others whom I’ll thank in the credits section below.

CDN, WAF, and DNS

Aside from web hosting, the other areas that play a significant role in your website speed is your DNS provider, your content delivery network (aka CDN), and your web application firewall (WAF).

While I have it listed as three separate things, a lot of companies are now offering these solutions in a bundled plan such as Sucuri, Cloudflare, MaxCDN (StackPath), etc.

Since I want to have maximum control and spread the risk, I am using three separate companies to handle each part efficiently.

WPBeginner DNS is powered by DNS Made Easy (same company as Constellix). They are consistently ranked as the fastest DNS providers in the world. The advantage of DNS Made Easy is that I can do global traffic direction when a specific data center on my CDN or WAF isn’t working properly to ensure maximum uptime.

Our CDN is powered by MaxCDN (StackPath). They basically allow us to serve our static assets (images, CSS files, and JavaScripts) from their large network of servers across the world.

We’re using Sucuri as our web application firewall. Aside from blocking attacks, they also act as another layer of CDN, and their overall performance is just amazing. I believe they have the best WordPress firewall solution in the market.

When working on website speed optimizations, shaving off every millisecond matters. That’s why using these solution providers combined with our new web hosting infrastructure makes a huge difference.

To illustrate, here’s the waterfall breakdown of WPBeginner.com vs GatsbyJS.org vs CloudFlare.com:

Waterfall Breakdown of Requests on WPBeginner

Notice that WPBeginner’s DNS time, SSL time, Connect time, and Wait time are all top notch when compared to these other popular websites. Each of these improvements compound to deliver the best results.

Instant.page, Optimized Images, and Other Best Practices

One of the things you might have noticed is the near instant load time when you browse WPBeginner posts and pages.

Aside from all the things I mentioned above, we’re also cheating latency by using a script called instant.page which uses just-in-time preloading.

Basically before a user clicks on a link, they have to hover their mouse over that link. When a user has hovered for 65ms (very short period of time), one out of two will actually click on the link.

Instant.page script starts preloading that page at this moment, so when the user actually clicks the link a lot of the heavy lifting is already done. This makes the human brain perceives website load time as nearly instant.

To enable Instant.page on your site, you can simply install and activate the Instant Page WordPress plugin.

Instant Page Script

This script is pretty neat. I highly recommend checking out their website and clicking on the “test your clicking speed” button to see how it cheats the brain.

Optimizing Images for Web

While there are new image formats being developed such as webp, we’re not using them yet. Instead we ask all of our writers to optimize each image using the TinyPNG tool.

You can also automate the image compression using plugins like Optimole or EWWW Image Optimizer.

However, I personally prefer to have the team do this manually, so we’re not uploading large files on the server.

Currently, we’re not doing any lazy loading for images, but I do plan to add it in the near future now that Google has lazy loading support built-in to Chrome 76.

There’s also a ticket in WordPress core to add this feature on all sites (really hoping that this happens soon), so I don’t have to write a custom plugin.

Limiting HTTP Queries + Best Practices

Reduce cross-domain HTTP requests

Depending on the WordPress plugins you use, some will add additional CSS and JavaScript files on each page load. These additional HTTP requests can get out of control if you have a lot of plugins on your website.

For more details, see how WordPress plugins can affect your site load time.

Now before you jump to the wrong conclusion that too many WordPress plugins are bad, I want to let you know that there are 62 active plugins running on the WPBeginner website.

What you need to do is combine CSS and JavaScript files where possible to reduce HTTP requests. Some WordPress caching plugins like WP Rocket can do this automatically with their minification feature.

You can also follow the instructions in this article to do it manually which is what our team at WPBeginner has done.

Aside from HTTP requests that plugins and themes add, you also want to be mindful of other third-party scripts that you add on your website because each script will impact your website speed.

For example, if you are running a lot of advertising scripts or retargeting scripts, then they will slow down your site. You may want to use a tool like Google Tag Manager to conditionally load scripts only when they’re needed.

If you’re an ad-supported website like TechCrunch or TheNextWeb, then there’s very little you can do about this since removing ads isn’t an option.

Luckily, WPBeginner doesn’t rely on third-party ad scripts to make money. Want to see how WPBeginner makes money? See my blog post on WPBeginner income.

Lessons Learned (so far) + My Final Thoughts

This is a brand new hosting infrastructure, and I’m sure there are tons of lessons I will be learning overtime.

So far I love the speed improvements because it has helped us boost our SEO rankings, and our admin area is much faster.

With the new multi-server setup, we introduced a new deployment workflow to bring WPBeginner up to par with the rest of Awesome Motive product sites.

What this means is that we now have proper version controlling built-in, and there are measures put in place to stop me from being reckless (i.e adding plugins without proper testing, updating plugins from the dashboard without testing, etc).

These changes also set the path for me to finally step out of development and hand over the reigns of WPBeginner site to our dev team.

I have been resisting this for years, but I think the time is coming, and I just need to accept it.

The new setup does not have cPanel or WHM, so this makes me practically useless anyways since I’m not very fluent with command line anymore.

So far we have learnt two big lessons:

First, updating WordPress isn’t as straight forward due to server sync / replication. When we upgraded my personal blog (SyedBalkhi.com) to WordPress 5.2, the update files didn’t sync properly on one of the web nodes, and debugging took much longer than anticipated. We’re working on building a better build / testing process for this.

Second, we need to have better communication across teams because we had a minor crisis with load balancer misconfigurations which resulted in some downtime. To make it worst, I was on a transatlantic flight on Turkish Airlines, and the WiFi wasn’t working.

Luckily everything got sorted thanks to the quick response time by the hosting team, but this helped us create several new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to better handle the incident in the future.

Overall I’m very happy with the setup, and I know that some of the caching configurations / optimizations that were made for WPBeginner will become a standard part of HostGator Cloud and Bluehost WordPress hosting plans.

I think this should go without saying that if you’re just starting a website, blog, or an online store, then you DO NOT need this sophisticated enterprise setup.

I always recommend that you start small with HostGator shared or Bluehost shared plans like I did, and then upgrade your hosting infrastructure as your business grows.

You can apply a lot of the optimizations that I shared above on your current WordPress hosting plans.

For example, Bluehost standard plan already comes with a built-in caching plugin that you can use, and they offer PHP 7 by default as well.

You can combine that with a CDN + WAF like Sucuri to significantly speed up your website.

Now if you are a mid-market / enterprise company who wants a similar hosting setup, then please reach out to me via our contact form. I can help point you in the right direction.

Special Thanks + Credits

Thank you HostGator and Bluehost

While in the article above, I have given tons of shout out to HostGator and Bluehost brands, I want to take a moment to recognize and appreciate the individual people that worked behind the scenes to make it happen.

First, I want to say thank you to the Endurance leadership team Suhaib, Mitch, John Orlando, Mike Lillie, and Brady Nord for agreeing to help me with the challenge.

I also want to thank Mike Hansen, David Collins, Rick Radinger, Chris Miles, David Ryan, Jesse Cook, David Foster, Micah Wood, William Earnhardt, Robin Mendieta, Rod Johnson, Alfred Najem, and others in the data center team for actually doing the hard work and making it happen.

I want to give a special shout out to Steven Job (founder of DNSMadeEasy) for quickly answering my questions and helping me better understand some settings. Also want to give a shout out to Tony Perez and Daniel Cid at Sucuri for always having my back.

Last but not least, I want to give special recognition to Chris Christoff. He’s the co-founder of MonsterInsights, and he was kind enough to help me with a lot of the testing and deployment.

I really hope that you found this behind the scenes case study about WPBeginner hosting infrastructure to be helpful. You may also want to see our ultimate guide on how to speed up WordPress which is way more beginner friendly.

Bonus: Here are the best WordPress plugins and tools that I recommend for all WordPress sites.

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



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How to Add Infinite Scroll to your WordPress Site (Step by Step)


Do you want to add infinite scroll to your WordPress blog?

Infinite scroll is a web design technique which automatically loads your next page content when users reach the bottom of a page. It allows users to see more content on your blog without clicking on the pagination or ‘Load More’ button.

In this article, we will show you how to easily add infinite scroll on your WordPress blog (step by step).

Adding Infinite Scroll to Your WordPress Blog Easily

What is Infinite Scroll?

Infinite scroll is a web design trend which uses AJAX page load instead of numeric page navigation to automatically load your next page content and display it at the end of current page. Infinite scrolling makes it easier to browse more content by simply scrolling down. It loads content continuously and infinitely as users keep scrolling.

Traditionally, users would have to click on ‘next,’ ‘previous’ buttons or page numbers to see older blog articles.

When using AJAX short for Asynchronous Javascript and XML, webpages can communicate with the server without reloading the entire page. It enables web apps to process user requests and deliver data without refresh.

The best examples of infinite scroll design are the popular social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and more. If you are using any of them, then you know how content loads endlessly on your social media timeline.

Is Infinite Scrolling Suitable for Every Website?

Many content websites on the internet are using infinite scroll technique to improve the browsing experience and increase engagement. This leads many beginners to ask the questions like is it suitable for every website, or is it good for my site?

Infinite scrolling is excellent for sites that present content in a timeline or feed, like the social media apps. It offers a fantastic browsing experience to the users looking for time-based content.

Next, infinite scroll design is perfect for mobile and touch devices. For mobile users, scrolling is more user-friendly than taping on tiny page links.

Touchscreen Web Interaction

The most significant advantage of infinite scroll technique is a smooth browsing experience. Users don’t need to click on the pagination links manually. Content loads quickly with scrolling and keeps users engaged.

But on the other side, it can also make your site navigation harder. With continuous loading, it is hard to figure out where (on which page) a blog article is. Some users even find it overwhelming to see many articles all at once.

Another disadvantage of infinite scroll design is that you cannot have a footer. Even if you have it, it will be hidden under endless articles continuously loading. Many sites add essential links on the footer, so not having it can disappoint some users.

Perhaps the most concerning issue with infinite scrolling is that it can slow down your website or even crash the server. When we added infinite scroll to one of our smaller blogs, we experienced server crash after users scrolled unnecessarily causing memory exhaustion on a small WordPress hosting account. We recommend that you use managed WordPress hosting if you’re looking to try infinite scrolling.

Now that you know the pros and cons of infinite scroll design, you can decide whether you need to add it to your blog or not.

If you have decided to add infinite scrolling to your WordPress blog, then you can do it easily. We will be showing you multiple plugins that you can use, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs.

Adding Infinite Scroll to Your WordPress Blog with Catch Infinite Scroll

First thing you need to do is install and activate the Catch Infinite Scroll plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, WordPress will add a new menu item labeled ‘Catch Infinite Scroll’ to your WordPress admin panel. You need to click on it to configure the plugin settings.

Catch Infinite Scroll Settings

First, you can choose a trigger option for loading articles. The plugin lets you load content automatically as users scroll down the page or add a ‘Load More’ button.

Load on Scroll or Click - Catch Infinite Scroll Plugin Settings

You should select the ‘Scroll’ option to trigger autoload with scrolling. Alternatively, you can select the ‘Click’ option if you want to add a load more button.

Next, you can see the navigation selector, next selector, content selector, and item selector. You don’t need to change anything on these options because default options work quite well.

After that, there is an Image option where you can add content loader icon. By default, it has a loader GIF image. If you have a better picture, then you can change it.

Upload a New Loading Image for WordPress Infinite Scroll

‘Finish Text’ option includes the message which will be shown once a user completes viewing your articles. By default, the text says ‘No more items to display.’ You can easily edit this text as needed.

Articles Loading Finished - Finish Text Option Catch Infinite Scroll

Once done, click on the Save Changes button.

That’s it! The infinite scrolling is now active on your blog. You can visit your blog and see the infinite scrolling in action.

WordPress Infinite Scroll Preview

Alternative WordPress Plugins to Add Infinite Scroll in WordPress

Catch Infinite Scroll works well with most of the WordPress themes; however, it can fail with some themes. In such a scenario, you can use any of the following infinite scroll WordPress plugins.

1. Ajax Load More

Ajax Load More settings

Similar to Catch infinite Scroll, Ajax Load More plugin also lets you add endless scroll and clickable Load More buttons to your WordPress site.

The plugin offers more customization options, including many page loading icon styles, button styles, etc. For a detailed guide, you can see our tutorial on creating a load more posts button in WordPress using Ajax Load More plugin.

However, the plugin has some learning curve for beginners. It has an advanced interface with many options, including repeater template, shortcode builder, WordPress queries, and more.

It will require some coding skills to apply infinite scrolling with this plugin.

2. YITH Infinite Scrolling

YITH Infinite Scrolling is a simple alternative to Ajax Load More or Catch Infinite Scroll plugin.

Similar to Catch Infinite Scroll plugin, it has minimal options to set up scroll-based web interaction on your site. You just need to install and activate the plugin and enable infinite scrolling.

YITH Infinite Scrolling Plugin Settings

Anyone, including beginners, can easily set up infinite scrolling using this plugin. However, it doesn’t have a ‘Load More’ button option, which is included in the other two plugins mentioned above.

We hope this article helped you to learn how to add infinite scroll design to your WordPress blog. You may also want to see our guide on how to add scroll-depth tracking in WordPress.

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 Add Infinite Scroll to your WordPress Site (Step by Step) appeared first on WPBeginner.



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12 Tips to Get a 100% in WordPress Site Health Check Score (Easy)


WordPress introduced a site health check feature in version 5.1 which was further improved in WordPress 5.2 to include a site health check score.

This feature helps website owners keep an eye on the performance and security issues that may affect their site.

Many of our readers have asked us about how to properly utilize the site health feature, and what it can or cannot do.

In this article, we will show you how to get a 100% score in WordPress site health check. We will also answer some commonly asked questions about the site health feature.

Tips to get a 100% site health score in WordPress

What is WordPress Site Health Check Score?

WordPress Site Health check score is a feature in WordPress, which looks for common performance and security issues and gives a health check score based on various tests.

You can view your site health score by visiting Tools » Site Health page in your WordPress admin area.

Getting a perfect score in WordPress site health

WordPress powers more than 34% of all websites on the internet. Most people who make a website using WordPress are beginners and non-techy users.

Site Health feature runs a series of tests to see if their website is performing with optimal settings and latest server software.

How can a good site health score help your WordPress site?

Site health feature runs a series of tests to look for common performance and security issues on a WordPress website.

One example is a test that checks if your website is running the latest PHP version. Using older PHP versions can make your website slow and/or misbehave with many popular WordPress plugins.

Getting a better site health check score ensures that your website is running under optimal conditions.

That being said, let’s take a look at how to get a 100% score in WordPress site health check.

1. Get a Better WordPress Hosting

Nothing impacts a website’s performance more than the web hosting service. This is the most important decision you make for a website.

Using an unreliable hosting provider can affect your WordPress site in many ways.

They tend to use older software, do not have all the PHP modules installed, and there is no easy way for users to fix those issues.

Choosing a WordPress hosting company with a proven track record provides you a solid platform to build your website.

We recommend using Bluehost, SiteGround, or Dreamhost. They are all officially recommended WordPress hosting provider and the biggest names in the hosting industry.

For more hosting recommendations, see our complete guide on how to choose the best WordPress hosting for your website.

2. Install SSL / HTTPS in WordPress

SSL protects your website by encrypting the data transfer from server to user’s browsers. SSL enabled websites use HTTPs instead of HTTP in their URLs and have a padlock icon in the address bar.

SSL Enabled website

To switch from HTTP to HTTPs, you will need to install an SSL certificate on your website. Most of our recommended WordPress hosting providers offer free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate that you can use.

For more details, see our guide on how to get a free SSL certificate for WordPress with step by step instructions on how to set it up.

3. Keep WordPress Up to Date

Keep your WordPress site up to date

WordPress is a regularly maintained open-source software. Each new WordPress release brings new features, bug fixes, and improves the security of your website.

Many beginners fear that updating WordPress could break their website. They ignore WordPress updates and as a result, leave their websites vulnerable to security threats.

You need to make sure that you are always using the latest WordPress version. For detailed instructions see our guide on how to update WordPress with step by step instructions.

4. Keep WordPress Plugins and Theme Updated

Update WordPress plugins

Just like WordPress itself, WordPress themes and plugins are also regularly updated. You need to keep an eye out for the available updates and install them to keep your site updated.

Plugins and themes use updates to deliver new features, fix bugs, and close security issues. You need to install updates to make sure that your website is not vulnerable to any known security issue.

For plugins, see our guide on how to properly update WordPress plugins.

For WordPress themes, you can simply go to Appearance » Themes page to install an update. You can also update a WordPress theme manually.

5. Use The Latest MySQL or MariaDB Version

Upgrade MySQL

WordPress stores all your website content in a database. By default, WordPress supports database management software like MySQL and MariaDB (a fork of MySQL).

Using the latest version of MySQL or MariaDB ensures that WordPress can safely store your website data. An older version may cause your website to behave unexpectedly.

You need to make sure that your website is running the latest stable version of MySQL/Maria. You can find the information about your database software version by switching to the info tab in site health.

MySQL version

If your website is using an older version of MySQL or MariaDB, then you need to contact your WordPress hosting provider and ask them to update it.

6. Use The Latest PHP Version

Upgrade PHP

WordPress is written in the PHP programming language. It is a server-side language, which means it runs on your hosting server to dynamically generate WordPress pages.

Using the latest PHP version gives your website a performance boost. It also ensures compatibility with new WordPress plugin features that may require the latest PHP version to work correctly.

For more details, see our article on how PHP updates affect your website.

If your website is using an older version of PHP, then you will need to ask your hosting provider to update it for you. Some hosting companies like Bluehost and WP Engine allow you to change the PHP version from the control panel.

7. Keep WordPress Automatic Updates Enabled

Automatic WordPress updates

WordPress comes with built-in ability to update itself and install the latest security releases. These are minor releases but crucial for the safety and security of your website.

However, site-owners do have the ability to turn off automatic WordPress updates. This can be done by using an update manager plugin or by adding code in the wp-config.php file.

These security updates are automatically installed on millions of websites. Make sure that automatic updates are enabled on your WordPress site to keep your site secure with these timely updates.

8. Remove Unused WordPress Plugins & Themes

Delete inactive plugins

Technically, you can use any number of WordPress plugins on your website as long as they are well-coded.

You can keep inactive plugins installed on your WordPress site. They are not loaded by WordPress and do not affect your website’s performance or speed.

However, it is recommended that you delete any inactive plugins that you don’t need. They take up space, can be used to hide malware, increase security scan time, and there is a chance you may accidentally activate them.

For more information, see our article on why you should delete inactive WordPress plugins.

9. Keep Rest API Enabled

JSON REST API

REST API in WordPress allows developers to securely use HTTP requests to perform actions on a WordPress site.

Many site owners disable REST API to protect their websites against brute force attacks.

However, site health does not recommend it because you may need REST API to use third-party apps or some WordPress plugins. Make sure that REST API is enabled to improve your WordPress site health score.

Editors note: We keep the REST API disabled on our sites to prevent against brute force attacks.

10. Make Sure Required PHP Modules are Installed

Install PHP extensions

PHP Modules and extensions are additional libraries that extend the functionality of the PHP programming language. WordPress recommends several PHP modules to be installed for optimal performance.

You can find a list of extensions on the WordPress website. Some of these extensions are required and others are recommended but not necessary.

Now, how do you install a missing module?

You will need to ask your hosting providers to install these extensions for you. Some web hosting providers allow you to install them from hosting dashboard (look for PHP PEAR Packages). However, you would still need to configure them in php.ini file which may not be easier for beginners.

11. Disable WordPress Debug Mode

WordPress debug mode

WordPress comes with a built-in debug mode which allows you to see if a plugin, theme, or custom code is throwing some errors. This feature is intended to be used by developers or advanced users.

It is not recommended to turn on the WordPress debug mode for a live website. It may show warnings and notices in the WordPress admin area which affect user experience.

For details, see our article on how to turn off PHP errors in WordPress.

12. Make Sure WordPress Can Run Scheduled Jobs

WordPress cron jobs

Your WordPress website needs to perform scheduled tasks like checking for updates. These tasks use a system called cron jobs.

Sometimes your hosting environment may block them from running or you may accidentally end up stopping WordPress cron jobs.

You need to make sure that WordPress can run these scheduled tasks to improve your site health score.

Frequently Asked Questions about WordPress Site Health Feature

WordPress site health feature provides excellent suggestions and recommendations. However, there are still some questions that may arise in your mind.

Here we will try to answer some of those questions.

Do I need to get a 100% site health check score in WordPress?

No, you don’t need to get a 100% site health check score. Any score above 80% is considered good enough to run a WordPress website without significant issues.

However, it does feel great to get a 100% site health score. It also ensures that you are not missing out on any of the recommended WordPress suggestions for your website.

Which site health checks are more important?

Site health tests are given three status labels:

  • Good (Passed tests)
  • Recommended (changes are recommended but not necessary)
  • Critical (Significant issues that you must consider fixing)

Critical issues are more important, and you should consider fixing them first.

Does the perfect site health score means my WordPress website is secure?

No, the site health score indicates that your WordPress installation uses the recommended WordPress settings. You would still need to improve WordPress security to protect your website against common threats.

How do I troubleshoot a WordPress site?

Site health feature also provides you debugging information that can be used for troubleshooting. Simply switch to the info tab and from here you can find detailed information about your WordPress install.

Site health debug information

For example, you can find which PHP version your site is using or how much memory limit is allowed on your site.

However, if you need to troubleshoot further, then see our guide on how to troubleshoot WordPress issues step by step.

We hope this article helped you learn how to get a 100% score in WordPress site health check. You may also want to see our guide on choosing the best WordPress caching plugin and best WordPress page builder plugin for 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 12 Tips to Get a 100% in WordPress Site Health Check Score (Easy) appeared first on WPBeginner.



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How to Use FOMO on Your WordPress Site to Increase Conversions


You may have heard of FOMO and social proof notifications when reading about latest marketing trends.

FOMO, short for fear of missing out, is basically a marketing technique used to create anticipation and excitement for a product.

It uses a basic psychology principle to help customers make a buying decision, faster.

In this article, we will show you how to properly use FOMO on your WordPress website to increase conversions and sales.

Adding FOMO in WordPress to increase conversions

What is FOMO and How it helps with Conversions?

FOMO or ‘fear of missing out’ is a psychological term used to describe anxiety about missing out on something exciting and trendy.

As a website owner, you can take advantage of this human behavior in your marketing strategy and improve your conversions.

The concept of FOMO is not new, it’s actually been used by marketers even before the arrival of internet. However with online marketing, FOMO has become far easier to implement and much more effective.

For example, if you run an online store, then you can create anticipation about an upcoming sale, limited time offers, and by adding social proof to your landing pages.

You can also use it to build your email list, run affiliate marketing campaigns, boost downloads for your apps, and more.

With that said, let’s take a look at how to easily add FOMO to your WordPress site. We will show you two techniques that we have successfully used on our own websites with incredible results.

1. Adding FOMO with Social Proof by Using TrustPulse

People feel more comfortable with their buying decision when they know others have also bought the same product or service and had a good experience with it.

This is why smart business owners use social proof in their marketing.

The best way to add social proof on your website is by using TrustPulse. It is one of the best WordPress popup plugins and social proof app on the market.

TrustPulse allows you to display real-time user activity notifications on your website such as products purchased, forms submitted, etc.

Example of Social Proof Notification

To get started, first, you’ll need to install and activate the TrustPulse plugin on your website. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

The plugin helps you connect your WordPress site to the TrustPulse app.

Upon activation, click on the TrustPulse menu from the WordPress admin sidebar and click on ‘Get started for free’ button to continue.

Connect TrustPulse

This will take you to the TrustPulse website where you can sign up for a free account. The free plan is good for up to 500 sessions per month.

Once you sign up, you are ready to create your first campaign. Simply click on the ‘Create new campaign’ to start your first FOMO campaign.

Create your first FOMO campaign

Next, you need to provide a title for your campaign, select your website, and then choose a campaign type. After that, click on the next step button to continue.

You can now choose language and appearance options for your campaign. You can change the position, badge image, style, and more.

Appearance and design

Once done, click on the next step to continue.

Next, you need to choose how you want to capture the activity. We recommend using AutoMagic, which allows you to select form activity that matches different conditions. For example, you can select your checkout page to automatically capture eCommerce activity.

Capture activity

You can also use Zapier to capture activities from 1000+ integrations.

Once done, click on the next step button to continue.

Next, you need to setup the display rules. You can display the badge on all pages or specific pages on your site. You can also choose the delay between notifications, run them as a loop, and enable mobile notifications.

Set up display rules

After that, click on the next step button to save and launch your TrustPulse campaign.

Launch TrustPulse campaign

You can now visit your website to see your FOMO campaign in action.

TrustPulse preview

Method 2: Adding FOMO Countdown Timers with OptinMonster

We have all seen marketers using ‘Urgency’ to get customer’s attention. Whether it is your local grocery store or a big name brand website, it is one of the oldest marketing techniques, which works just as effectively online.

Basically, you show users an offer with a sense of urgency, which triggers the fear of missing out on a valuable deal and helps users make a purchasing decision.

Urgency hacks can be used with limited time offer, seasonal sale campaigns, one-time discounts, etc. To learn more, see this article on using urgency to hack conversion rates with proven methods.

The best way to add urgency timers in WordPress or WooCommerce is by using OptinMonster. It is the most popular conversion optimization software that helps businesses turn abandoning website visitors into subscribers and customers.

First, you will need to sign up for an OptinMonster account. It is a paid tool, and you will need at least the ‘Plus’ plan to use their Floating bar campaigns.

Next, switch to your WordPress site to install and activate the OptinMonster plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

This plugin is a connector between your WordPress site and the OptinMonster application.

Upon activation, click on the OptinMonster menu in your admin sidebar and enter your API key. You can find this information under your account on OptinMonster website.

OptinMonster API key

After entering your API Key, you will need to click on the ‘Create New Campaign’ button to continue.

Create new campaign

First, you need to select an optin type and then select a theme. We will be using a ‘Floating bar’ campaign with the ‘Countdown’ theme.

Campaign type

Next, you will be asked to choose a name for your theme and the website where you will run it. Filling this information will launch the OptinMonster Builder interface.

Configure your optin

It is a drag and drop tool where you can simply point and click to design your campaign. You’ll see a live preview of your campaign in the right panel and a bunch of customization options in the left panel.

Go ahead and click on the countdown timer itself to set the countdown style and end date. There are two types of countdown timers you can use: ‘Static’ and ‘Dynamic’.

The static timer remains the same for all your users, while the Dynamic “evergreen” timer changes based on user behavior on your website.

Edit countdown timer

For this tutorial, we will be using the static timer. Since we are using floating bar with countdown theme, we can move the floating bar to the bottom or the top.

You can also just point and click to edit the text in your floating bar. You can add a coupon code, add links to special offers, and style it any way you want.

Once you are satisfied, don’t forget to click on the Save and then Publish button at the top. This will show you the status page where you need to toggle the switch next to make the campaign live.

Publish campaign

Now, go back to your WordPress website and click on the ‘Campaigns’ tab on the OptinMonster page. You will see your recently created campaign listed there (Click on refresh campaigns button if you don’t see it).

Launch countdown timer campaign on your site

By default, your campaign will be disabled, and you just have to click on the ‘Go Live’ link to enable it.

You can now visit your website to see your countdown timer FOMO campaign in action.

Fomo countdown in action

Tracking Your Conversions in WordPress

FOMO techniques work really well for conversions, but how do you keep track of their performance? Without tracking you wouldn’t know how many sales or leads were generated because of these campaigns.

All expert marketers use Google Analytics. It not only helps you see where your users are coming from, but it also allows you to track user engagement on your website.

The easiest way to use Google Analytics in WordPress is through MonsterInsights. It is the best Google Analytics plugin for WordPress and has an eCommerce addon for WooCommerce and EDD, which helps you track your eCommerce performance without leaving WordPress.

MonsterInsights eCommerce tracking

We hope this article helped you learn how to add FOMO to your WordPress website and boost conversions. You may also want to see our list of must-have WordPress plugins for business websites.

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



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How to Easily Create a Staging Site for WordPress (Step by Step)


Are you looking to create a staging site for WordPress but not sure where to start?

A WordPress staging site is a test site that you can use to “safely” make plugin updates and other changes before going live.

In the past, it used to be very difficult to setup a WordPress staging site, but now that has changed so even a non-technical person can do it.

In this step by step guide, we will show you how to easily create a staging environment for your WordPress site. We will cover several different methods and most of them only require a few clicks.

How to create a staging site for WordPress

What is a Staging Site?

A staging site is a clone of your live website that is used for testing changes before making them live. Staging sites help you catch errors, so you don’t end up breaking your live website.

A lot of users install WordPress locally on their Windows or Mac computers to test changes. Once they’re done with the updates, they simply upload those changes from localhost to live server

The biggest problem with this approach is what if something that worked on your localhost does not work on the live server?

Often localhost and live WordPress hosting servers are not running the same environment.

Since the staging site lives on your web hosting server, you can easily prevent all those errors because it runs the same server configuration as your live site.

With that said, let’s take a look at how to setup a staging site for WordPress.

How to Easily Create a WordPress Staging Site

There are multiple ways to create a staging site for WordPress. The easiest of them is to use your hosting provider’s built-in staging site feature.

Some of the best WordPress hosting companies already offer 1-click staging websites. If your website is hosted with one of them, then you can easily create a staging site without any hassle.

If you’re not with one of these popular hosting solutions, then we also have a solution to help you create a WordPress staging site using a plugin (and even manually).

For faster browsing, you can use the navigation below to jump to the section that’s most applicable to you:

  • Creating a staging site on Bluehost
  • Creating a staging site on SiteGround
  • Creating a staging site on WP Engine
  • Creating a staging site using a plugin
  • Creating a staging site manually

Creating A Staging Site on Bluehost

Bluehost is one of the best WordPress hosting companies. They offer a quick 1-click staging site solution which comes with all their plans.

First, you need to login to your WordPress site’s admin area and go to Bluehost » Staging page.

Staging site option on Bluehost

This will bring you to the Bluehost’s staging site wizard. Next, you need to click on the ‘Create Staging Site’ button to continue.

Create staging site on Bluehost

Bluehost will now prepare the staging environment for your website. Once finished, you will see a success message with a link to visit your staging site.

Go to your staging site

Now, you can click on the ‘Go to staging site’ button to continue.

You will reach the admin area of your staging WordPress site. You will see a red button on top of the admin bar to indicate that you are working in the staging environment.

You can go ahead and work on your website without worrying about it affecting your live site.

Deploying changes from staging to live site on Bluehost

Once you are ready to push changes from staging to the live site, simply go to Bluehost » Staging page.

Deploy staging to live website on Bluehost

Scroll to the Deployment Options section. You will see three options for deployment. You can deploy only the files, only the database, or both files and database.

If you’re not sure, then click on the Deploy Files and Database button to deploy all changes from the staging environment.

This will bring up a popup where you will be asked to confirm that you want to deploy the staging site to the production site. Click on ‘Yes, Let’s Deploy’ button to continue.

Confirm deploy

Bluehost will now start deploying your staging site to the live site. Depending on the size of your website, this may take a while.

The pop up will automatically disappear when deployment is over. You can now visit your live website to see the changes applied to your production site.

Creating a Staging Site on SiteGround

SiteGround is another top WordPress hosting company offering 1-click staging feature with their GrowBig and GoGeek plans. If your website is hosted with SiteGround, then this is how you would set up a staging website.

First, you need to login to your SiteGround cPanel dashboard. Next, scroll down to the ‘WordPress Tools’ section and then click on the Staging icon.

Staging icon in SiteGround cPanel

This will bring you to the staging sites page. From here, you need to add your website to the staging site manager. Once you’re done, click on the ‘Add WordPress’ button to continue.

Add site to staging manager

On the next screen, you need to select the URL where your website is installed. If your WordPress site is installed in a sub-directory, then you can add that in the field next to it and click on the Add URL button to move forward.

Select URL

The staging site manager will detect your website and add it to the page. You can now click on the ‘Create Staging Copy’ button to continue.

Create staging site copy

You will see a popup that allows you to password protect your staging site. This is a good idea because it prevents others from accessing your site. It also prevents Google from indexing duplicate content.

Go ahead and provide a username / password and then click ‘Continue’.

Password protect staging site

SiteGround will now create the staging environment for your WordPress website.

Once it’s done, you will see the staging site manager with links to the admin area of your staging site. Go ahead and start working on your WordPress staging site.

After you are done making changes to your website, you can push it live by going to the staging page in cPanel. You need to click on the ‘Manage Staging Copies’ button next to your website.

Manage staging copies

On the next page, you can click on the ‘Push to live’ button to push changes from staging to your live website.

Deploy staging to live

Creating a Staging Site on WP Engine

WP Engine is the best WordPress managed hosting company in the world. Managed WordPress hosting is a concierge service for your WordPress site where the hosting provider takes care of updates, backups, security and performance.

WP Engine offers one-click staging solution with all their plans. If you are using WP Engine to host your website, then this is how you would set up a staging environment for your site.

First, you need to login to your WP Engine dashboard. Next, go to the Sites page and select your website by clicking on it.

Sites WP Engine

This will bring you to your website dashboard. Now, you need to click on the Add Staging link from the left column.

Add staging site in WP Engine

On the next screen, you need to enter a name for your staging site under the ‘Create New’ tab. This name will also be the subdomain of your staging site.

Create new staging site

Click on the Create Environment button to continue.

WP Engine will now create a staging site for you. However, this staging environment is just an empty WordPress site that does not have any content of your live website.

Let’s change this.

Switch to your production environment by clicking on production from the left column. On the next screen, click on the Copy to button at the top right corner of the screen.

Copy to staging

Next, you will be asked to select the backup point you want to use for your staging site. If unsure, select the most recent back up of your website.

Select back up point

Click on the preview copy button to continue.

You will see a warning popup informing you that you are copying the source website to the staging environment. Click on the Copy Environment button to proceed.

Copy website warning

WP Engine will now copy your live website to the staging environment. You will recieve an email notification when it is done.

After that, you can login to your staging website using the same admin username and password as your live website.

Deploying Staging to Live Website on WP Engine

When you are ready to push the changes from your WordPress staging site to live site, first you will need to create a backup point for your staging site.

A backup point is just like saving your progress in a game. You need to create one before deploying your staging site’s changes to the live site.

Simply head over to WP Engine dashboard and click on Staging » Backup Points menu from the left column.

Create a backup point for your staging website

Next, provide a description for your backup so you can remember the changes later, and then click on ‘Create staging backup’ button.

Create backup of your staging site

WP Engine will now create a backup point for your website. You will receive an email notification when your backup is complete.

You are now ready to deploy your staging site.

Simply click on the ‘Copy to’ button at the top right corner of the screen and select ‘Production’.

Copy to production

Next, you will be asked to select a backup point. This time select the backup you created earlier and click on the preview button.

Select back up point

You will see a warning message, but go ahead and click on the ‘Copy Environment’ button to proceed.

Copying environment

WP Engine will now copy your staging environment to your live website. You will recieve an email notification when it is complete.

After that, you can log in to your live website to ensure everything is working fine, and it should because you tested all your changes on staging.

Creating A Staging Site using WordPress Plugin

If your WordPress hosting company does not provide a staging site feature, then you can still create a staging website using a WordPress plugin.

There are some disadvantages to using this method.

First, a plugin would have limited control on your hosting server. This is why it may not always give the best results.

Secondly, the plugin we will be using will store your staging site on their own servers. If you are concerned about privacy and data protection, then this may not be the ideal situation for you.

That being said, let’s see how to create a staging WordPress site using a WordPress plugin.

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

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

WP Stagecoach settings

You will need to enter your WP Stagecoach username and the API key which you can find under your account on the plugin website.

After that, you will be able to create your staging website.

You need to provide a name for your staging site. This name will also be used as the subdomain of your WordPress staging website.

Don’t forget to check the box next to ‘Password protect the staging site’ option. It will protect your staging website from public view and search engines.

Create staging site using WP Stagecoach

Next, click on the ‘Ride The Stagecoach’ button to continue.

The plugin will now create a backup of your WordPress files and database to export them for your staging site. Once finished, you will see the link to your staging site, and its admin area.

You can click the link to visit your staging site and start working on it.

Deploying Staging Site to Live Using WP Stagecoach

Once you are ready to import changes to your live site, head over to WP Stagecoach » Import Changes page and click on the check for changes button.

The plugin will now check for changes on your staging site and then show you options to import them.

Impoting changes from staging

You can select to import only file changes, only database changes, or all changes. Next, click on the import button to continue.

The plugin will show you the progress of the import and will notify you when it is done. You can now test your live site to see if all changes were successfully imported.

Create a Staging Site for WordPress Manually

This method requires you to manually create a staging site for your WordPress install. It is for advanced users and requires more work than other methods described above.

Another disadvantage of this method is that your website will be temporarily unavailable when deploying changes back from staging to live server.

That being said, let’s see how to manually create a staging environment for your WordPress site.

First, you need to create a subdomain for your staging website. Go to your hosting account’s dashboard and click on the Subdomains link located under the domains section.

Create subdomain for your staging site

Note: We’re using Bluehost in our example screenshot, so your screen may look different.

Provide a name for your subdomain (for example, staging) and then click on the create button.

Your hosting control panel will now add your subdomain, which you can use to import your live WordPress site.

Next, you need to install and activate the Duplicator plugin on your live site.

Upon activation, you need to click on the Duplicator menu in your WordPress admin sidebar and click on the create new button.

Create Duplicator package

After that, you will be asked to click on the Next button to continue.

Duplicator will now run the website duplicator wizard. First, it will run some tests to see if everything is in order. If all items are marked ‘Good’, then click on the ‘Build’ button.

Build package

The plugin will now start creating a duplicator package of your WordPress site. This process may take a few minutes depending on the size of your website.

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

Download and package and installer files

Your new staging WordPress site will need a new database. Let’s create one.

Head over to your WordPress hosting account’s control panel and click on MySQL Databases icon located under the Databases section.

MySQL Database

On the next screen, provide a name for your database and then click on the create database button.

Create database

Next, you need to create a MySQL user for your database. Scroll down to the MySQL Users section and provide a username and password for your new database user.

Create MySQL user

Now you need to give this user permissions to access and modify the database you created earlier. Simply scroll down to the ‘Add user to database’ section and select your database and the user you just created.

Add user to database

After that, click on the ‘Add’ button to continue.

You will be asked to select privileges for the user. Go ahead and select ‘All Privileges’ checkbox and then click on the ‘Make changes’ button.

Grant privileges

Now your database is ready to be used for your staging website.

Next, you need to open a new browser tab and visit enter the subdomain of your staging site like this:

https://yoursubdomain.example.com/installer.php

Don’t forget to replace yoursubdomain with the actual subdomain and example.com with your own domain name.

This will launch the Duplicator installer wizard.

Duplicator installer wizard

The installer will look for the archive file. You need to check the terms and conditions checkbox and click on the next button to continue.

Now, the installer will ask you to enter your WordPress database information.

Your host will likely be localhost. After that, you will enter the details of the database you created for your new domain name in the earlier step.

Connect database

Once done, click on the next button to continue.

Duplicator will now unpack your WordPress database backup from the archive into your new database.

Next, it will ask you to update the site URL or Path. You shouldn’t have to change anything since it automatically detects the URL of your new subdomain and its path.

If it doesn’t, then you can change the URL to your new subdomain. After that, click on the next button to continue.

Update URLs if needed

Duplicator will now finish the migration.

You can click on the ‘Admin Login’ button to enter the WordPress admin area of your website on the new staging site.

Now you have your staging site set up. Let’s protect it by adding password protection to your subdomain.

Head over to your hosting account’s cPanel dashboard and click on the directory privacy icon.

Directory privacy

Next, you need to select your subdomain folder and then select the option to ‘password protect this directory’ checkbox. You will be asked to provide a name for this setting, and then enter a username and password.

Password protect your staging site

Click on the save button to store your settings. Your staging site will now be hidden behind the password protection.

You can now work on your staging site and make any changes you want.

Manually Deploy Staging Site to Live

After you are ready to deploy changes from your staging site to the live server, you will follow the same steps described above.

Simply create a new Duplicator package on your staging site and download the Installer and Archive files to your computer.

Next, you need to head over to your live site and create a complete WordPress backup (you can use Duplicator to create a complete backup as well).

Once you are done, you will need to delete all WordPress files and folders from your live website. This means your WordPress site will be down for a while.

Finally, follow the instructions above to run the Duplicator installer wizard to import staging site to live server.

As you can see, the last method is not the best method at all. You should avoid this at all costs. We recommend using a reliable hosting provider like Bluehost, SiteGround, or WP Engine that offers built-in staging site features.

We hope this article helped you learn how to easily create a staging environment for your WordPress site. If you run into any issues, check out our ultimate guide to fixing the most common WordPress errors.

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 Easily Create a Staging Site for WordPress (Step by Step) appeared first on WPBeginner.



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How to Create A Question and Answers Site in WordPress


Do you want to build an online question and answer community like StackOverflow or Quora? Question and answer websites are fun, highly engaging, and very helpful.

These websites make money from user-generated content which makes them an easy to start online business.

In this article, we will show you how to easily create a question and answers site in WordPress without any programming skills.

You can create a whole site dedicated to Q & A, a single FAQ page, or add a question and answer section to your existing WordPress site.

Making a question and answers site in WordPress

Gettings Started with Question and Answers Website

To start your own question and answers website, you will need the following items.

  • A domain name (This is your website’s address on the internet. Example, wpbeginner.com)
  • A web hosting account (This is where your website’s files are stored. All websites need web hosting).
  • Question And Answers Add-on for WordPress

A domain name costs around $14.99 / year and web hosting prices start from $7.99 per month (usually paid annually).

Now, this is not a small amount if you are just starting out.

Luckily, Bluehost has agreed to offer WPBeginner users discount on web hosting and a free domain name. Basically, you can get started for $2.75 per month.

→ Click Here to Claim This Exclusive Bluehost Offer ←

Bluehost is one of the largest hosting companies in the world and an officially recommended WordPress hosting provider.

After you have purchased hosting, they will automatically install WordPress for you. You can also do it yourself, by following our complete WordPress installation tutorial.

Once you have WordPress installed, you can move on to installing a question and answers plugin. WordPress plugins are extensions that allow you to add new features to your website.

That being said, let’s take a look at how to set up questions and answers website in WordPress.

Setting up Your Question and Answers Site

The first thing you need to do is install and activate the DW Question Answers plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, the plugin creates two new pages in your WordPress site:

  • DWQA Questions – This page will display all questions.
  • DWQA Ask Question – This page contains a form where users can ask new questions.

The title and URLs of these pages contain DWQA which looks bad. Let’s change this.

Head over to Pages » All Pages and click Quick Edit link below each page.

Question and Answer pages

This will show page details for quick editing. You can remove the DWQA from page title and slug fields and then click on the ‘Update’ button to save your changes.

Change page title and slug

The next thing you need to do is to allow user registration on your website. This can be achieved by going to Settings » General page.

Scroll down to the ‘Membership’ section and check the box next to Anyone can register. Make sure that you choose Subscriber as the new user default role.

Open your site for user registration

Now that user registration is enabled, let’s configure the plugin settings.

Start by going to Questions » Settings page. Under the General tab, you can configure the basic plugin settings.

Settings page

First, you need to choose the page that will display the Ask Question form and another page that will List All Questions. You will notice that the default pages are already selected here.

If you want to display some other pages, then you need to copy and paste the shortcodes shown on the settings page to those pages.

Under the Question settings section, you can select the number of questions you want to be displayed on the questions page. You can also enable ‘Moderation’ by requiring each question to be manually approved.

The plugin also comes with built-in spam protection features. You can enable the Akismet anti-spam feature and provide the Akismet API key.

Anti-spam features

You can also use reCAPTCHA to protect your question and answer forum from automated spam bots.

Don’t forget to click on the ‘Save Changes’ button to store your settings.

Next, you need to switch to the ‘Email’ tab. From here you can upload your logo and modify the email notifications sent by the plugin.

Email notifications

After that, switch to the ‘Permissions’ tab. From here you can set up user role permissions. By default, the plugin allows administrators and editors to read, post, write and edit all questions and answers.

Set up permissions

The plugin also allows anonymous users to ask questions. You can change that from permissions settings.

Once you are satisfied with plugin settings, don’t forget to click on the ‘Save changes’ button to save your changes.

Managing Your Question Answer Site

You can view all questions added to your site by visiting DW Q&A » All Questions page. As an administrator, you can edit or delete any questions submitted by any user on your site.

You can also add Question categories since users do not have permissions to create categories. However, users can add question tags when submitting a question on your site. To understand the difference check out our guide on Categories vs Tags.

Managing questions on your website

The Front End Features of Your Q&A Site

DW Question Answers is designed to work with most WordPress themes. This is how your questions page will look:

Preview of questions page

Questions can be searched or sorted by status, categories, views, and answers. Your users post questions, submit answers, and add their own comments. Users can also follow questions by clicking on the star icon next to each question.

Single question page with answers

The user who has asked the question and the site administrator has the ability to mark a question as resolved. Users can also vote for answers, choose the best answer, and add comments to the questions and answers as well. This provides a much deeper interaction platform for your users to engage in discussions around the question topic.

Mark solution and set status to resolved

This plugin is free and performs very well during our tests. There are several Question and Answer WordPress themes out there, but those lock you into using that theme forever.

The advantage of using a plugin is that you can switch your theme without losing any data.

We hope this article helped you build your own Q&A community on your WordPress site. You may also want to see our guide on how to increase traffic on your new WordPress 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 How to Create A Question and Answers Site in WordPress appeared first on WPBeginner.



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How to Easily Display Code on Your WordPress Site


Do you want to display code in your WordPress blog posts? If you tried to add code like regular text, then WordPress will not display it correctly.

WordPress runs your content through several cleanup filters each time you save a post. These filters are there to make sure someone does not inject code via post editor to hack your website.

In this article, we will show you the proper ways to easily display code on your WordPress site. We will show you different methods, and you can choose the one that best fits your needs.

How to easily display code in WordPress posts

Method 1. Display Code Using The Default Editor in WordPress

This method is recommended for beginners and users who don’t need to display code very often.

Simply edit the blog post or page where you want to display the code. On the post edit screen, add a new code block to your post.

Add code block to your WordPress posts

You can now enter the code snippet in the text area of the block.

Add code to your blog post

After that, you can save your blog post and preview it to see the code block in action.

PHP code displayed in WordPress

Depending on your WordPress theme, the code block may look different on your website.

Method 2. Display Code in WordPress Using a Plugin

For this method, we will be using a WordPress plugin to display code in your blog posts. This method is recommended for users who often display code in their articles.

It gives you the following advantages over the default code block:

  • It allows you to easily display any code in any programming language
  • It displays the code with syntax highlighting and line numbers
  • Your users can easily study the code and copy it

First, you need to install and activate the SyntaxHighlighter Evolved plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you can go ahead and edit the blog post where you want to display the code. On the post edit screen, add the ‘SyntaxHighlighter Code’ block to your post.

SyntaxHighlighter code block

You will now see a new code block in the post editor where you can enter your code. After adding the code, you need to select the block settings from the right column.

SyntaxHighlighter code block settings

First, you need to select the language for your code. After that, you can turn off line numbers, provide first line number, highlight any line you want, and turn off the feature to make links clickable.

Once you are done, save your post and click on the preview button to see it in action.

Code displayed with syntax highlighting

The plugin comes with a number of color schemes and themes. To change the color theme, you need to visit Settings » SyntaxHighlighter page.

SyntaxHighlighter settings

From the settings page, you can select a color theme and change SyntaxHighlighter settings. You can save your settings to see a preview of the code block at the bottom of the page.

Code block preview

Using SyntaxHighlighter with Classic Editor

If you are still using the old classic WordPress editor, then here is how you would use SyntaxHighlighter plugin to add code to your WordPress blog posts.

Simply wrap your code around square brackets with the language name. For example, if you are going to add PHP code, then you will add it like this:

[php]
<?php
private function get_time_tags()
$time = get_the_time('d M, Y');
return $time;

?>
[/php]

Similarly, if you wanted to add an HTML code, then you will wrap it around the HTML shortcode like this:

[html]
<a href="example.com">A sample link</a>
[/html]

Method 3. Display Code in WordPress Manually (No Plugin or Block)

This method is for advanced users because it requires more work and does not always work as intended.

It is suitable for users who are still using the old classic editor and want to display code without using a plugin.

First, you need to pass your code through an online HTML entities encoder tool. It will change your code markup to HTML entities, which will allow you to add the code and bypass the WordPress cleanup filters.

Now copy and paste your code in the text editor and wrap it around <pre> and <code> tags.

Adding code manually in classic editor

Your code would look like this:

<pre><code>
&lt;p&gt;&lt;a href=&quot;/home.html&quot;&gt;This is a sample link&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;
</pre></code>

You can now save your post and preview the code in action. Your browser will convert the HTML entities and users will be able to see and copy the correct code.

Manually displaying code in WordPress

We hope this article helped you learn how to easily display code on your WordPress site. You may also want to see our ultimate list of the most wanted WordPress tips, tricks, and hacks.

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The post How to Easily Display Code on Your WordPress Site appeared first on WPBeginner.



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