Tag - Site

11 Things You Should Do When Inheriting a WordPress Site


Recently one of our readers asked what are some of the things we recommend doing immediately after inheriting a WordPress site?

Whether you’re a business owner who recently acquired a new website, or an office assistant who’s inheriting your company’s existing website from another team member, you might be wondering what are the most important next steps.

In this article, we will show you the top things you need to do when inheriting a WordPress site.

Things you need to do when inheriting a WordPress website

1. Get All The Passwords

Managing passwords

When inheriting a WordPress site, the first thing you must do is gather all the username and password information. This includes your web hosting password, FTP password, CDN password, domain management password, email marketing service passwords, and password to all third party premium plugins or services that the website is using.

From our experience, scheduling a video call with the old developer or site owners works best because they can explain everything in detail.

The best way to manage all your website passwords is by using a password manager. We recommend using LastPass because it works with all your devices and allows you to store passwords in group, share them securely, and use stronger passwords.

2. Change All Admin Password and Emails

Once you have received all the passwords, you need to change all of them.

This ensures that the previous developer or site owner cannot modify anything. Another thing you want to do is update all admin contact emails, so only you have the ability to reset passwords in the future.

You can do this by going to Users » All Users page in WordPress admin area and editing all user passwords along with contact details.

Edit all user passwords in WordPress

Next, you need to change the WordPress site admin email address. WordPress uses it to send important website notifications. Simply go to Settings » General page and enter a new email address there.

Change admin email address

3. Take Notes and Familiarize Yourself

take notes

Before you make any other changes to the site, it is important to take notes and familiarize yourself with the website. If you’re not familiar with WordPress, then we recommend that you watch our WordPress 101 videos.

It is very important that you understand the importance and functionality of each WordPress plugin used on the website.

You would also want to review theme settings and the widgets you’re using.

You can take notes of different functionalities, features you would like to change, and more.

Note: please write all these notes down in Google Docs, Dropbox Paper, or somewhere else that you won’t lose it.

This information will help you understand everything. If you need help understanding something, then you can try contacting the previous owner or developer.

4. Setup an Automated Backup Solution

Automated backups

Backups are your first layer of defense against any online mishap. The previous site owner may have their own backup plugins setup which may be storing backup files to one of their remote storage accounts.

You would want to set up your own backups. There are plenty of excellent WordPress backup plugins that you can choose from.

You need to make sure that you set up your backups on a remote location like Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.

You also need to create a complete WordPress backup before making any further changes to your website. This would help you revert back your website in case anything goes wrong.

5. Update User Roles and Permissions

If you are a developer working on a website, then you’ll need to work with your client to assign user roles and permissions to their staff.

Your goal should be to limit the administrator user role to people who actually need to perform admin tasks. These tasks include things like changing the theme, installing new plugins, or adding new users to the website.

If you are working on your own site, then you will need to review user access. Create a new user account for your authors if needed.

If there are older author and editor accounts that you will not be working with, then you need to edit those user accounts and change their email address and password. See our guide on how to disable user accounts without deleting them.

6. Run Security and Performance Scans

WordPress security

Next, you need to make sure that your new WordPress website is secure and performing well.

For security scans, we recommend using Sucuri. It is the best WordPress security plugin on the market and allows you to easily scan your website for malicious code, security threats, and vulnerabilities.

For performance, you can use any of the online website speed test tools. We recommend using IsItWP website speed test tool which is easy to use and gives you a detailed overview of your website speed.

It is also important that you check to see that caching is configured properly.

Many WordPress hosting companies like Bluehost and SiteGround offer built-in caching solutions that you can turn on from your hosting account. You can also use a WordPress caching plugin like WP Rocket to instantly improve your website speed.

If the site is not running a CDN, then you should consider using a CDN service. Although this is not required, we always recommend users to use a CDN. For more details, see our guide on why you should use CDN.

7. Check for Proper Tracking and SEO Integration

Track user analytics

If you have inherited the ownership of a new website, then old website owner may have transferred the Google Analytics property to you.

A lot of website owners simply add the Google Analytics code to their WordPress theme. This code disappears as soon as you update the theme or install a new one.

Make sure that the Google Analytics is properly installed on the website by either using MonsterInsights plugin or by adding the tracking code outside WordPress theme.

Similarly, they may have also transferred Google Search Console property to you as well.

Make sure that your site has XML Sitemaps in place for search console. You may also want to look at Google Search Console reports making sure there are no crawling issues or errors on the site.

8. Implement Version Control and/or Staging Site

Version control

If you’re a developer, then it is highly recommended that you implement version control for the site. It is fairly easy to use GitHub or BitBucket.

If you’re not a developer, then at the very least we recommend setting up a WordPress staging site which ensures that you have a stable testing environment before pushing things live. We recommend this step for all users.

For those who’re scared to set this up, then WP Engine a managed WordPress hosting provider offers a robust staging environment and git version control integration.

Other small business hosting providers like SiteGround and Bluehost are also offering staging features at affordable prices.

9. Run a Website Clean up

Cleanup WordPress

Now that you have familiarized yourself with the project, it is best to clean out all the unnecessary things. Delete all inactive themes and plugins. Delete all user accounts that are not needed.

Login to your WordPress database and optimize the database. Some bad plugins leave their database tables even after they’re deleted. If you notice any of those, then it is best to delete them. See our beginners guide to WordPress database management to safely optimize WordPress database.

10. Review Plugin Settings

Review plugin settings

A typical WordPress website uses several plugins that may still be referring to old owners. If you have taking the ownership of a website, then you would want to change that.

For example, the contact form plugin on the website may still be sending notifications to old email addresses. WordPress SEO plugin may still be pointing to previous owners’ social media profiles.

You can discover some of these things by looking at the website and testing all its features. You can also review plugin settings and update them if needed.

11. Upgrade Your Hosting Service

Web Hosting

After running the website speed test, if your website is still slow despite using caching, then it is time to upgrade your hosting.

If it is a client website, then your performance tests would help you convince the client for the move. If you own the website yourself, then you just need to choose the right move.

We recommend using SiteGround or Bluehost as they are one of the biggest hosting companies and officially recommended WordPress hosting provider.

If your website has outgrown shared hosting, then you may want to consider using a managed WordPress hosting service like WP Engine.

See our guide on how to move WordPress to a new host for step by step instructions to move your website.

We hope that this article offered some insights on what you should do when inheriting a WordPress site. You may also want to see our guide on the 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.

The post 11 Things You Should Do When Inheriting a WordPress Site appeared first on WPBeginner.



Source link

How to Fix Your Connection is Not Private Error (Site Owners Guide)


Are you seeing ‘Your connection is not private’ error on your WordPress website? This is the error message you’ll see on Google Chrome.

The same error will be displayed on all modern browsers with slightly different messages, and it can be a bit confusing for beginners to troubleshoot.

In this site owner’s guide, we’ll show you how to easily fix ‘Your connection is not private’ error on your website. We’ll also talk about why this error appears, and how you can avoid it in the future.

Fixing your connection is not private error in WordPress

What is ‘Your Connection is Not Private’ Error?

‘Your connection is not private’ error appears on websites using the SSL / HTTPs protocol when your browser is unable to validate the SSL certificate issued by the website.

Basically, any website using SSL / HTTPs protocol sends a security certificate information to users browsers upon each visit. Browsers then try to validate the certificate using the public key accompanying the certificate.

If it checks out, then users browser encrypts the data using the private key sent by your website. This encryption secures the data transfer between a user’s browser and your website.

How SSL works to protect data transfer

However, if the browser is unable to validate the certificate, then it cannot transfer the data securely and displays the error that your connection to the website is not private.

This is a common SSL error and appears on all modern browsers with slightly different error messages.

Google Chrome

Google Chrome will show this error as ‘Your connection is not private’.

Your connection is not private error in Google Chrome

Mozilla Firefox

Firefox would show this error as ‘Your connection is not secure’.

Connection not secure error in Google Chrome

Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge browser displays it with the ‘Your connection isn’t private’ or ‘This site isn’t secure’ error message.

This site is not secure - Microsoft Edge

Safari, Brave, and other browsers will display similar messages.

Why This Error Message Occurs?

Now you may be wondering, what caused ‘Your connection is not private’ error to appear on your website. This error is peculiar because in many cases it may show up without you making any changes to your website.

It can be caused by several reasons. For instance, if a user’s computer clock is out of sync, then it may show the certificate as expired.

Another scenario is that a certificate previously issued by your website is stored in user’s browser. The private key sent by your website does not match the old certificate and the browser fails to validate the secure connection.

Last but not least, the most obvious reason you’d see this error is if the SSL certificate on the website has expired.

The following are the steps you can take to fix the ‘Your connection is not private’ error. You can also try these steps even when the error is appearing on other websites as well.

1. Force Reload a Page

Reload a page

The first step is to try turning it on and off method. Start by simply shutting down the browser app and then reopening it.

After that, try to visit the website. If you can still see the error then try force reloading the page. Use Command + R keyboard shortcut on Mac or CTRL + Reload button on Windows.

This will force the browser to ignore the cached version of the page and load the latest version.

2. Check with Multiple Browsers

Test in multiple browsers

If you are only checking it with one browser on the same machine, then try visiting the website using any other browser app.

This step will eliminate the possibility that the issue is limited to a specific browser. If it is, then reinstalling that browser would fix the issue.

Otherwise, you can move on to try the next steps in this guide.

3. Clear Your Browser Cache

Clear your browser cache

You may have heard this as the first advice for many internet and website-related issues. It is true in this case too. Your browser may be loading files from an older version of your website which may be triggering the issue.

We have a complete guide on how to clear browser cache for all major browsers with step by step instructions.

Once you have cleared the cache, try visiting the website again to see if the issue has resolved. If it hasn’t, then continue reading.

4. Check Your Computer’s Clock

Normally, your computer syncs its date and time settings automatically. However, if your computer has incorrect date/time settings, then this may cause your browser to think that a website’s SSL certificate is invalid.

Sync Date / Time on Windows Computers

If you are using a Windows computer, then simply right click on the taskbar and select ‘Adjust Date and Time settings’.

Adjust date and time in Windows

This will open date and time section in the Windows Settings app. Make sure that your computer’s date and time is correct and ‘Set time automatically’ option is checked.

Date and time settings are turned on to automatically sync

Sync Date / Time on Mac Computers

If you are using a Mac computer, then open the ‘Settings’ app and click on the ‘Date & Time’ icon.

Date and time settings in Mac

Next, switch to the Date & Time tab and make sure that the option next to the ‘Set date and time automatically’ option is checked. If it is not checked, then click on the padlock icon at the bottom left corner of the window to enable this option.

Sync date and time and settings in Mac

5. Turn off Antivirus and VPN Apps

If you are using any antivirus programs on your computer or a VPN service, then you may want to temporarily turn them off.

This would allow you to verify that these apps are not blocking the SSL certificate and forcing your browser to show the ‘Your connection is not private’ error.

If you discover that one of these apps was causing the problem, then you can reach out to their support team for help.

6. Check Your SSL Certificate Expiration

Another common reason for this error is expired SSL certificates. These certificates are issued for a specific period and expire when they reach the end of that period.

You can check your certificate’s expiration date by clicking on the padlock icon next to your website and selecting the certificate option.

Checking a website's SSL certificate details

This will bring up your SSL certificate details. You can clearly see certificate expiration date in the window.

SSL expiry date

Most domain registrars and SSL certificate providers will automatically notify you when your SSL certificate needs to be renewed.

If you are using a free SSL certificate, then most WordPress hosting companies have scripts in place that automatically renew them upon expiration.

However, those mechanisms may fail and your SSL certificate may expire. Don’t worry, you can easily fix that by simply replacing your SSL certificate.

Instructions to do that may vary depending on your certificate provider and hosting company. In fact, many hosting companies will update it for you upon request.

7. Test Your SSL Server

SSL test tool

If you have been setting up your SSL certificate manually by yourself, then you may want to make sure that all configuration settings are working properly.

To do that you can run an SSL server test. This test allows you to check the complete SSL set up of your website.

This includes TLS protocol, cross-browser testing, and SSL/HTTPs set up checks. The scanner will also provide you detailed information about each test.

8. Check Certificate Domain Name

You can set up your SSL certificate to work for different variations of a domain name. For example, www and non-www URLs.

If your certificate is only set up for one variation of your domain name, and you access the website using another variation, then this would result in ‘Your connection is not private’ error. Google Chrome will show the error code as SSL_ERROR_BAD_CERT_DOMAIN.

This error could also appear if you have recently moved your website to a new domain name or server.

One easy solution is to issue a free SSL certificate for both variations of your domain name. You can request your hosting provider to do that for you.

Another solution is to redirect your website visitors to the correct variation of your domain name. See our article, on how to set up redirects in WordPress for more details.

We hope this article helped you learn how to fix ‘Your connection is not private’ error in WordPress. You may also want to bookmark our guide on 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.



Source link

How to See the Keywords People Use to Find Your WordPress Site


Do you want to see the keywords people use to find your WordPress website?

Keywords are the phrases users type in search engines to find the content they are looking for. You would want your website to rank for the right keywords that describe what you are offering.

In this guide, we will show you how to easily see the keywords people use to find your WordPress site.

View the keywords your website ranks for

What is Keyword Tracking and Why is it Important?

Keyword tracking is basically the activity of monitoring the position of your website for specific keywords in search engines like Google, Bing, etc.

Keyword tracking helps you see important metrics such as which specific keywords people use to find your website, so you can focus on what’s working and stop spending time on what’s not.

When it comes to WordPress SEO optimization, we often recommend users to do keyword research and add proper meta description / keywords to their website. This helps your website rank higher in search engines.

But what many beginners don’t know is that search rankings change quite often. If a new competitor enters the market or your previous competitor further improves their SEO, then you can lose the rankings that you previously had and thus the traffic along with it.

Sometimes Google algorithm updates can also cause your website to increase or decrease in rankings for your top keywords.

At WPBeginner, we believe that its easier to double your website traffic and sales when you know exactly how people find and use your website.

With that said, let’s take a look at how to see the keywords people use to find your website.

Tracking Keywords People Use to Find Your Site

The best way to track keywords people use and the keywords where your website ranks is by using Google Search Console.

Google Search Console is a free tool offered by Google to help website owners monitor and maintain their site’s presence in Google search results.

We’ll show you how to connect search console to your Google Analytics along with how to bring those reports right inside your WordPress dashboard.

Finally, we’ll cover how to track not just your own keywords, but also the keywords your competitors are ranking for.

Sounds good? Let’s get started.

Tracking Your Website Keywords in Google Search Console

If you have not already done so, then you need to add your website to Google Search Console. We have a detailed tutorial on how to add your WordPress site to Google Search Console.

You can simply visit the Google Search Console website and follow the instructions in our tutorial.

Start Google Search Console

Once you have added your website to Google Search Console, you’ll be able to use it to monitor your search rankings.

To view your keyword positions, click on the Performance report and then click on the average position score.

Track your keyword positions

Search Console will now load your reports with the average position column included.

Next, you need to scroll down a bit to see the full list of keywords your website ranks for.

View your keyword rankings

You will see a list of keywords with number of clicks, impressions, and position of that keyword in search results.

You can sort the data by clicks, impressions, and position columns. You can see your top ranking keywords by sorting the data by position.

As you scroll down, you will be able to see keywords where your site appears deeper in search results. You can optimize your content to rank higher for those keywords as well.

Method 2. Track Your Keywords Inside WordPress with MonsterInsights

For this method, we’ll be using MonsterInsights to fetch our Google Search Console data inside the WordPress dashboard.

This method has two advantages.

  • You get to see your keywords right inside WordPress admin area
  • You’ll see it along with your other MonsterInsights reports which will help you plan more effeciently

MonsterInsights is the #1 Google Analytics plugin for WordPress. It allows you to easily install Google Analytics in WordPress and shows you human-readable reports right inside your WordPress dashboard.

First, you need to do is install and activate the MonsterInsights plugin on your website. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

For step by step instructions, see our complete guide on how to install Google Analytics in WordPress.

Once you have installed and set up MonsterInsights, the next step is to connect your Google Analytics account to your Goole Search Console account.

Simply, login to your Google Analytics account and then click on the Admin button from the bottom left corner of the screen.

Link search console

Next, you need to click on ‘All products’ under the property column and then click on the ‘Link Search Console’ button.

This will take you to the Search Console settings page where you need to click on the Add button. After that, you’ll see a list of websites added to your Google Search Console account.

Select Google Search Console property

Click on the OK button to continue and your Analytics and Search Console accounts will now be linked.

You can now view the keywords your website ranks for inside the WordPress admin area.

Simply go to Insights » Reports and then switch to the Search Console tab.

Search console report

You’ll see a list of keywords where your website appears in the search result. Next, to each keyword you’ll also see the following parameters:

  • Clicks – How often your site is clicked when it appears for this keyword
  • Impressions – How often it appears in search results for that keyword
  • CTR – Click through rate for this keyword
  • Average position – Your site’s average position in search results for that particular keyword

Method 3. Tracking Your Keyword Rankings in Google Analytics

In the previous method, we showed you how to connect Google Search Console to your Google Analytics account and view the reports inside your WordPress dashboard.

However, you can also view your keyword rankings inside Google Analytics.

Simply, login to your Google Analytics dashboard and go to Acquisitions » Search Console » Queries report.

Search keywords in Google Analytics

Your search keywords will be listed under the Search Query column. For each keyword, you’ll also see its CTR, impressions, and average position.

Method 4. Tracking Competitor Keywords using SEMRush

Do you want to track not just yours but also the keywords your competitors are ranking for? This method allows you to do that with actual tips on how to outrank your competition.

We’ll be using SEMRush for this method. It is one of the top SEO tools on the market because it helps you get more search traffic to your website.

We use it on our many websites to gather competitive intelligence.

First, you need to sign up for an SEMRush account. Note: You can use our SEMRush coupon to get a better deal.

After you have created an account, you can enter your domain name at the top search bar under SEMRush dashboard.

Track a domain name in SEMRush

Next, SEMRush will show you full keyword report with a list of your top ranking keywords.

Keywords list in SEMRush

Click on the View Full Report button to get the full list of keywords.

Next to each keyword, you’ll see its position, volume of search, cost (for paid advertisement), and the percentage of traffic it sends to your website.

You can also enter your competitor’s domain name to download a full list of all the keywords where they rank.

Tips on Improving The Keywords Where Your Website Ranks

As you go through the list of keywords, you’ll notice some of your results rank quite well (under top 10) with significant impressions but very low CTR.

This means that users didn’t find your article interesting enough to click on. You can change that by improving your article’s title and meta descriptions. See our guide on how to improve blog post SEO to rank higher.

You’ll also see keywords where your website can easily rank higher. You can then edit those articles and improve them by adding more helpful content, adding a video, and making it easier to read.

If you are using SEMRush, then you can use their Writing Assistant Tool which helps you improve your content by making it more SEO friendly for that particular keyword. See our guide on using the SEO writing assistant for more details.

We hope this article helped you learn how to see the keywords people use to find your WordPress site. You may also want to see our guide on how to easily increase website traffic with practical tips for beginners.

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 See the Keywords People Use to Find Your WordPress Site appeared first on WPBeginner.



Source link

How to Add Your WordPress Site to Google Search Console


One of the most important step in optimizing your WordPress site for SEO is adding it to Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools).

Google Search Console offers specific webmaster tools to help website owners monitor and maintain their search presence and rankings.

In this guide, we will show you how to easily add and verify your WordPress site in Google Search Console also known as Webmaster Tools.

How to easily add your WordPress site to Google Search Console

What is Google Search Console?

Google Search Console is a free tool offered by Google to help website owners monitor their website’s presence in Google search results.

It helps you track search rankings along with keeping you updated about site errors, security issues, and indexing issues that may affect your website’s search performance.

If you are serious about growing your website, then you need to add it to Google webmaster tools from day one.

That being, let’s take a look at how to easily add your site to Google Search Console.

Adding Your WordPress Site to Google Search Console

First, you need to visit the Google Search Console website and click on the ‘Start Now’ button.

Start Google Search Console

Next, you’ll need to sign in with your Google / Gmail account.

Once logged in, you’ll be asked to enter your website URL.

There are two methods for site verification: domain name or URL prefix. We recommend the URL prefix method because it is more flexible.

Add website URL

Keep in mind that Google considers an HTTP and HTTPS as two different protocols. It also considers https://www.example.com and https://example.com as two different websites.

You need to enter the correct website URL used by WordPress.

If you are unsure, then there is an easy way to find out the exact URL you need to enter. Simply login to your WordPress admin area and go to Settings » General page.

There you will see your website’s URL in the site address field.

Copy your site address from WordPress settings page

After entering your correct website address in Google webmaster tools setup wizard, click on the ‘Continue’ button to go to the next step.

Now, you’ll be asked to verify ownership of your website. There are several ways to do that, but we will show the HTML tag method because it is the easiest one.

Copy the HTML tag

Click on the HTML tag to expand it and then copy the code inside it.

Now, you need to add this Google site verification meta tag in WordPress, so Google can verify that you are the owner of the website.

Most WordPress tutorials will guide you to just edit the header.php file in your WordPress theme and add the code just above the <body> tag.

However, we don’t recommend this method because if you update or change your theme, then the HTML tag will disappear.

Google periodically checks for the HTML tag and will disable your access to the site data in the search console if it cannot find the verification tag.

Here is how to make sure that Google can always verify your ownership of the website.

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

Upon activation, go to Settings » Insert Headers and Footers page and paste the Google HTML tag code you copied earlier inside the ‘Scripts in Header’ box.

Add HTML verification tag to site header

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

You can now go back to Google Search Console settings and click on the ‘Verify’ button.

Verify ownership

Google Search Console will now look for the HTML tag in your website code and will show you a success message.

Your website successfully added to Search Console

Note: If you don’t see a success message, then you need to clear your WordPress cache. This will ensure that Google can fetch the latest version of your website.

That’s all. You have successfully added your site to the Google Search Console (Webmaster tools). You can now click on the ‘Go to Property’ link to visit your Google Search Console dashboard.

Google Search Console dashboard

From here you can see your website’s performance reports and index coverage.

Before you do that, let’s tell Google a little bit more about your website. This will help Google crawl your website a bit more efficiently.

Add XML Sitemap to Google Search Console

An XML sitemap is a file that lists all your website content in XML format, so search engines like Google can easily discover and index your content.

The easiest way to add an XML sitemap to your WordPress website is by installing and activating the Yoast SEO plugin.

Upon activation, go to SEO » General and switch to the ‘Features’ tab. From here, you need to scroll down to the ‘XML Sitemap’ option and make sure that it is turned on.

XML Sitemap option in Yoast SEO

Next, you need to get the XML sitemap link. Simply click on the question mark icon next to the XML sitemap option, and you will see a link to your XML sitemap.

View your XML sitemap

Clicking on the link will take you to your XML sitemap. From there, you can just copy the URL from your browser’s address bar.

Copy your XML Sitemap URL

Alternatively, you can directly access your XML sitemap by adding sitemap_index.xml at the end of your website address. For example:

https://www.example.com/sitemap_index.xml

Now that you have XML sitemap ready, let’s help Google find it quickly.

Simply switch to the Google Search Console dashboard and click on the Sitemaps menu from the left column.

Add your sitemap URL to Google Search Console

After that, you need to add the last part of your sitemap URL under the ‘Add new sitemap’ section and click the Submit button.

Google will now add your sitemap URL to your Google Search Console.

That’s all, you have successfully added your website to Google Search Console.

The next step is to learn how to use the treasure trove of information in Google search console to grow your business. We have a complete Google Search Console guide for beginners which shows you how to make the most out of Google Search Console data.

Google Search Console and WordPress FAQs

Having helped thousands of readers add and verify their website in Google search console, we have seen just about every question you can think of. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

1. How can I upload a Google HTML verification file to my WordPress blog?

Google Search Console allows few different ways to verify website ownership. In this article, we covered the easiest method which is to use the Google site verification meta tag. However some website owners prefer to upload the HTML file to verify site ownership.

To upload the Google search console HTML verification file to WordPress, you will need to login to your WordPress hosting cPanel or connect to your hosting account using FTP.

Next, you need to upload the HTML verification file inside the /public_html/ folder of your website. This is the root directory where you’ll see other WordPress folders like /wp-admin/, /wp-content/, etc.

2. Should I use a Google Site verification plugin for WordPress?

There are many WordPress plugins that are designed specifically to help you with Google site verification. However you don’t need to use them because you’ll likely need to verify ownership on other webmaster tools and platforms like Bing, Yandex, Pinterest, etc.

It’s much better to use the Insert Headers and Footers plugin because it lets you add site verification for all platforms (in a single plugin).

3. How can I become a power user of Google Search Console?

Google search console has a lot of useful information that you can use to grow your business. We have created the ultimate Google Search Console guide that you can use to become a power user.

4. I’m running into problems, is there a Google Search console phone number that I can contact?

No, there’s no Google search console phone number that you can contact. If you’re running into problems with Google search console, then you can use their online support center. For specific questions about WordPress, you can always join our free WordPress help group to ask your questions.

We hope this article helped you learn how to easily add your WordPress site to Google Search Console. You may also want to see our guide on how to get more traffic to your website, and our comparison of the best email marketing services for small business.

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 Your WordPress Site to Google Search Console appeared first on WPBeginner.



Source link

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.



Source link

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.



Source link

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.



Source link

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.



Source link

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.



Source link

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.



Source link