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How to Create an Email Newsletter the RIGHT WAY (Step by Step)


Do you want to create an email newsletter for your website, blog, or eCommerce business?

An email newsletter helps you stay in touch with your users, bring them back to your website, and convert them into customers.

The challenge is that many beginners find it difficult to start an email newsletter. Mainly because they feel that it would be too technical or time-consuming.

That used to be the case 10 years ago, but now creating an email newsletter is so easy that even a non-techy can do it!

Having built an email newsletter with over 1 million subscribers, we have decided to create an ultimate guide on how to start an email newsletter with step by step instructions.

Our goal is to help you walk through the process and set up your email newsletter the RIGHT way.

How to easily create a newsletter

Since this is a comprehensive guide, we have included a table of content for easier navigation.

  • What is an email newsletter
  • Why start an email newsletter
  • Who should start an email newsletter
  • How to start an email newsletter
  • Creating an email list
  • Setting up your email list settings
  • Adding newsletter signup forms to get more subscribers
  • Sending your first newsletter email
  • Tips to get more email subscribers
  • How to make money from your email newsletter
  • Keeping your newsletter emails out of spam

What is an Email Newsletter?

An email newsletter is a form of online communication that allows you to send news, tips, and updates about your product, business, or non-profit.

In order to receive these updates, people need to join your email list by providing their email address. These users are referred to as subscribers, leads, or contacts.

Organizations and individuals use email newsletters in many different ways. For example, businesses use email newsletters to send users product information, new arrivals, and latest updates.

Websites and blogs use email newsletters to send content updates, increase traffic, and building a loyal following.

Why Start an Email Newsletter?

Did you know, that more than 75% of people visiting your website today will never find it again?

It is not your fault, it’s just that the internet is so huge and there is a lot of content out there.

Starting an email newsletter will allow you to convert those website visitors into subscribers. Once they join your email newsletter, you will be able to stay in touch and bring them back to your website.

Basically without an email newsletter, you are losing potential subscribers and customers every day.

Now you may be thinking, ‘ What if we ask users to follow us on social media? Wouldn’t that provide a way to contact those users?’

It will, and you should definitely build a social media following. However, you don’t own those social media platforms.

Social media giants like Facebook and Twitter limit your audience’s reach. More importantly, most of your users may not be checking their social feeds as often.

On the other hand, people tend to check their email inbox several times every day. Most users use a mobile device with notifications turned on for emails.

For more on this topic, see our article on why building an email newsletter is so important.

Who Should Start an Email Newsletter?

Many of our users often ask us if they should make a newsletter for their business, blog, or organization. Our answer is always ‘Yes’.

Even if you are just starting out, you should start building your newsletter from day 1. Each day you are not doing this, you are losing money, subscribers, and potential customers.

Email marketing is a win-win situation regardless of your industry, business, or website traffic.

1. Email Marketing for Small Businesses

Business websites, regardless of their industry or size, can always benefit from creating a newsletter.

It is the most cost-effective way to stay in touch with your existing customers, website visitors, and potential customers.

Sony PlayStation Newsletter signup

2. Email Newsletter for Ecommerce Websites

A study found that more than 44% of email recipients have made at least one purchase because of a promotional email.

If you run an online store, then email marketing is the most effective tool to convert abandoned carts into paying customers.

For a long time, eCommerce giants have been effectively using email to convert casual visitors into buyers.

Abandoned cart emails

3. Email Newsletter for Non-Profits

Non-profit organizations need to reach out to their supporters for donations, support, events, and more. Other mediums like social media, phone, and physical mailing all cost a lot more money than email marketing.

Human Rights Watch newsletter signup form

Creating an email newsletter allows non-profits to stay in touch with the general public, supporters, and donors.

Users are more likely to open emails from a non-profit that they support. In fact, 49% of millennials prefer to get updates from the organizations they support via email.

To learn more, see this article on why email marketing is essential for non-profits.

4. Email Newsletter for Blogs and News Websites

If you want to start a blog or make a content-driven news site, then email marketing is the best way to build your audience. You will see that all popular internet marketers, influencers, and famous bloggers actively build their email lists.

Chris Brogan newsletter

Here is why:

  • You get to send email updates to users who would otherwise never return to your website again.
  • You build a steady audience of loyal readers without relying on third-party platforms like search and social media.
  • You don’t control search engines or social media. Your search rankings can drop and your social media profiles can get suspended for no reason. On the other hand, you own your email list and have complete freedom to use it.

5. Email Newsletters for Education

Educational institutions need support from an engaged community of students, faculty, parents, and local businesses. Whether it is for fundraising, admissions, events, or other activities; Email is the cheapest and most direct way for schools and colleges to reach out.

University of California newsletter signup form

These are just a few examples of how email newsletters can benefit businesses, individuals, and non-profits. There are many more examples out there, which is why most marketers believe that email marketing is crucial for being successful online.

That being said, let’s take a look at how you can easily start an email newsletter to grow your own business and brand.

Step 1. Starting an Email Newsletter

The most important thing you’ll need to start your email newsletter is an email marketing service provider. These are companies that allow you to collect email addresses and send mass emails.

There are literally hundreds of email marketing services in the world including Constant Contact, SendinBlue, AWeber, Drip, ConvertKit, and many more.

After trying out almost every popular email marketing service, we recommend our users to use Constant Contact. They are one of the most popular email marketing service providers in the world, and their support is great in helping people get started.

Constant Contact offers a beginner friendly email marketing platform with simple drag and drop tools to help you quickly get started. They also have advanced email list growth tools, marketing automation, eye catching templates, and more.

First, you need to visit the Constant Contact website and click on the signup button. They have a 60 day free trial (no credit card required).

Signup for Constant Contact

Once you click the button, it will bring you to the signup page where you need to provide the information to create your account.

Fill in the signup form

After you complete the signup, you will be redirected to Constant Contact guided set up. Click on the ‘Skip this step’ below as we will show you how to set it up later in this article.

Skip set up wizard

You will now reach your Constant Contact dashboard. This is where you will manage your email lists, subscribers, and send your email newsletter.

Constant Contact dashboard

Note: Constant Contact free trial account only allows you to send up to 100 emails. You will need to purchase their paid plan to access all the powerful features. WPBeginner users can get a special 20% off when using our Constant Contact coupon code.

Step 2. Creating an Email List

An email list is basically a contact list of your subscribers. Think of it as a contact book containing email addresses of all the users who sign up to receive your email newsletter.

To keep your contacts organized, you need to create an email list.

Simply click on the ‘Contacts’ link from the top menu and then click on the Email List link in the sidebar.

Creating a new email list

This page will show all your email lists. By default, Constant Contact creates an email list for you labeled ‘General Interest’. You need to click on the ‘Enter a new list’ link to create a new email list.

Choose a name for your email list

You’ll be asked to enter a name for your list. You can enter anything here that helps you easily identify the list.

Next, click on the ‘Add list’ button, and Constant Contact will create the list for you.

Email list created

In order to start using this email list, you need at least one contact added to it. You can manually add a contact to your list by visiting the ‘Contacts’ page and clicking on the ‘Add Contacts’ button.

Add contact to your email list

This will show you a drop-down menu, asking how you would like to add contacts. You need to select ‘Type in one contact’ to continue.

On the next screen, you need to enter contact information. You can add one of your own email addresses here. This will allow you to test your email campaigns.

Adding a contact to your email list

After entering your contact information, click on the save button to add it. Your email list is now ready to be used.

Now that you have created an email list, it is time to set up some basic list settings.

Step 3. Setting up Your Email List Settings

The first thing you would want to set up is a welcome email. This is the email message sent to your users when they join your email newsletter.

Let’s get started.

First, you need to click on the ‘Campaigns’ link from the top menu and then click on the ‘Create’ button.

Create welcome email campaign

This will bring up a popup where you will be asked to select an email campaign type. Click on the ‘Email Automation’ to continue.

Email automation campaign

After that, you need to choose the email automation type. Click on the ‘Welcome email’ option to continue.

Select automated welcome email

Next, you will be asked to select a template for your email. The builder will automatically show you ‘Welcome email’ templates that you can use as a starting point.

Select welcome email template

Simply click on a template to select and open it in Constant Contact’s drag and drop email builder.

Creating welcome email

From here, you will design your welcome email newsletter template.

You can start by giving your campaign a proper title, this will help you identify the campaign when you need to edit or change it in the future.

Click on the ‘Untitled…’ link at the top left corner to edit it. Now enter a name for your campaign, for example, welcome email, new user signup, introduction, etc.

Campaign name

After that, you can start editing the email template. It is a drag-and-drop editor, so you can simply drag elements from the left column and drop them on the canvas. You can also point and click anywhere in the email to edit it.

Point and click to edit your welcome email

You can replace the logo with your own, add your own header image to match your branding, customize the email subject and message text to fit your needs.

Once you are satisfied with the design, click on ‘Save’ to store your email and then click the ‘Continue’ button.

The email builder will now ask you to select an email list. Go ahead and select the list you created in the earlier step. After that, fill out the physical address form.

Welcome email settings

Due to the anti-spam laws in many countries, you need to include physical address information in each newsletter email. This can be your business address or a P.O. box.

Lastly, click on the ‘Activate’ button at the top right corner of the screen to save and activate your welcome email.

Welcome email campaign set up

You have successfully set up a ‘Welcome email’ campaign. From now on, all new users joining your newsletter will receive this email upon sign up.

Some tips on writing an effective welcome email

Welcome emails have an average open rate of 50% which is higher than any other email newsletter you send.

It will be the first thing new subscribers will hear from you. This is your opportunity to impress them, so they look forward to your next email newsletter.

  • Say thanks and let your users know that you appreciate them sharing their contact information with you.
  • Next, you would want to introduce yourself, your business, and what you do. Keep it short and simple.
  • Let your users know how often you’ll email them and what kind of content and offers they should expect.
  • If you promised users an incentive to join your email list, then include that information in your welcome email.
  • The best way to introduce users to your brand is by sending them to the most useful content on your website. It helps them discover content and builds engagement.

For more tips, see this guide on how to write the perfect welcome email for new subscribers.

Step 4. Setting up Newsletter Signup Forms to Get More Subscribers

Now that you have signed up with an email marketing platform and set up your email list. It is time to start promoting it.

The easiest way to get more subscribers is by adding the newsletter sign up forms to your website. Usually, your email marketing service would have ready-made sign up forms that you can add to your website.

However, these signup forms don’t look good and sometimes don’t fit in the container where you want to place them.

Let’s take a look at how to easily add newsletter signup forms to your WordPress site. We will show you two methods, and you can choose one or both of them together.

1. Add Newsletter Signup Form Using WPForms Lite (Free)

WPForms is the best drag & drop WordPress from plugin in the market. They have a free version called WPForms lite which includes built-in support to connect with your Constant Contact account.

This allows you to use WPForms’ drag and drop form builder to create your newsletter sign up form.

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

Upon activation, you need to visit WPForms » Settings page and click on the ‘Integrations’ tab.

WPForms integrations

You will see Constant Contact integration listed there. You need to click to expand it and then click on the ‘Add Account’ button.

This will show you the information needed to connect your Constant Contact account to WPForms. Click on the link that says ‘Click here to register with Constant Contact’.

Connect Constant Contact to WPForms

This will bring up a popup which will take you to the Constant Contact website. Click on the ‘Allow’ button to give WPForms access to your Constant Contact account.

Allow access

Next, you will see an authorization code which you need to copy.

Authorization code

Switch back to the WPForms settings page and enter the authorization code you copied earlier. You also need to provide a name for this integration.

Add authorization code

Finally, click on the ‘Connect to Constant Contact’ button.

WPForms will now connect to your Constant Contact account. You will see a ‘Connected’ label appear next to the integration.

Constant Contact connected

Now you are ready to create your newsletter sign up form using WPForms.

Simply head over to WPForms » Add New page to launch the WPForms builder interface.

Creating a newsletter sign up form

Provide a title for your form and then click on the ‘Newsletter signup form’ template.

This will load up a read-made signup form with required fields already added to the form.

Editing newsletter signup form

You can point and click to edit form fields, change fields labels, and add more fields from the left column if needed.

Once you are satisfied with the form, you need to click on the Marketing tab to integrate it with Constant Contact.

Add new connection

Click on the Constant Contact tab and then click on the ‘Add Connection’ button. You will be asked to provide a title for this connection. You can enter anything here and then click OK button.

Name your connection

Next, you will see the settings for this connection. It will automatically detect your Constant Contact account and show it under the Select Account field.

Below that you need to select the email list. Click on it to select the email list you created earlier.

Select email list and map form fields

After that, you need to map your WPForms form fields to the Constant Contact fields. Once done, you can click on the ‘Save’ button at the top to save your sign up form.

WPForms also makes it super easy to add your newsletter signup form anywhere on your website.

If you want to add the form to your website’s sidebar, then visit Appearance » Widgets page and add WPForms widget to a sidebar.

WPForms widget

Provide a title for your widget and then select the signup form you created earlier. Don’t forget to click on the ‘Save’ button to store your settings.

You can now visit your website to see your newsletter signup form in action.

Newsletter sign up form displayed in the sidebar

You can also add sign up form to your blog posts or pages. Simply edit the post and add the WPForms block to the content area.

Adding WPForms block to blog post

After adding the block, select the newsletter signup form you created earlier and WordPress will load it inside your post. You can now save or publish your post and visit your website to see it in action.

Newsletter signup form in a WordPress post

2. Add Newsletter Signup Form Using OptinMonster (Pro)

For this method, we will be using OptinMonster, which is the best tool in the market to help you get more email subscribers, faster!

It includes dozens of high-converting signup forms like lightbox popups with exit-intent technology, 2-step optins, slide-in forms, floating bar, and more. This gives you powerful tools that you need to quickly grow your email list.

For more details, see our complete OptinMonster case study to learn how we used it to increase our email subscribers by 600%.

First, you will need to sign up for an OptinMonster account. It is a premium service and their plans start from $9 per month.

You can use our OptinMonster coupon code: WPB10 to get 10% off your purchase.

Once you have signed up for OptinMonster, you will reach your account dashboard.

Let’s create your first OptinMonster campaign. Click on the ‘Create Campaign’ button to get started.

Create campaign

Next, you will be asked to select an optin type. For the sake of this guide, we will be creating a lightbox popup signup form. Below that you need to choose a template for your campaign.

Choose optin type and template

After that, you will be asked to provide a title for your campaign and enter your website address.

Campaign settings

This will launch the OptinMonster builder interface. It is a powerful drag and drop campaign builder where you can design your optin forms.

OptinMonster builder

You can point and click to edit any item on the screen. You can also add new blocks to add different elements to your optin.

Once you are satisfied with the design, it is time to connect the OptinMonster campaign to your Constant Contact account.

Switch to the ‘Integrations’ tab from the top menu and then click on the ‘Add new integration’ button.

Adding a new integration in OptinMonster

Next, you need to select Constant Contact as your ‘Email service provider’ and then click on ‘Register with Constant Contact’ button.

This will bring up a popup where you need to click on the ‘Allow’ button.

Allow OptinMonster to access your Constant Contact account

Switch back to the OptinMonster and provide a name for this connection. After that, click on the ‘Connect to Constant Contact’ button.

Connect Constant Contact to OptinMonster

OptinMonster will now fetch your Constant Contact account details. You need to select the email list you created for your newsletter.

Select your email list

Now, we will take a look at the display rules for your campaign. Display rules allow you to choose when and where to display your campaign.

Display rules

By default, OptinMonster will show the popup to any user after 5 seconds. The popup will only appear on their first pageview and will not bother your users again during the same session.

Next, you need to switch to the Publish tab and change campaign status to Live. After that, don’t forget to click on the ‘Save’ button to store all your campaign settings.

Publish your OptinMonster campaign

Your OptinMonster campaign is now ready, let’s add it to your WordPress site.

First, you will need to install and activate the free OptinMonster plugin on your site. This plugin acts as a connector between your WordPress site and OptinMonster.

Upon activation, you need to click on the OptinMonster menu item in your WordPress admin sidebar. On the next screen, click on the ‘Connect Your Account’ button to continue.

Connect OptinMonster to WordPress

Next, you will be asked to enter your OptinMonster API key. You can find this information under your account on the OptinMonster website.

Connect to OptinMonster

After entering the API key, click on the ‘Connect to OptinMonster’ button. The plugin will now connect your website to OptinMonster.

Next, you need to switch to the ‘Campaigns’ tab. This is where all your OptinMonster campaigns will appear. If you don’t see any campaigns here, then click on the ‘Refresh campaigns’ button.

Turn on campaign on your website

Now you need to click on the ‘Go Live’ live below the campaign you just created. After that, you can visit your website in a new Incognito browser tab to view your newsletter signup popup in action.

Newsletter sign up form

OptinMonster is an incredibly powerful tool to quickly get more subscribers for your website.

Following are a few other campaign types that you can create with OptinMonster.

  • A slide-in scroll box signup form
  • A sticky floating footer signup form
  • Triggering FOMO with a countdown timer signup form

Step 5. Sending Your First Email Newsletter

Once you have added newsletter signup forms to your website, you will gradually start getting subscribers. After getting your initial welcome email, these new subscribers will be waiting to see what you send them next.

You are now ready to start sending newsletter emails.

Let’s create your first email campaign.

The great thing about using Constant Contact is that it comes with an incredibly easy to use email builder with tons of beautiful templates.

Creating your campaigns and sending newsletter emails is quite easy. Simply log in to your Constant Contact account and click on the Campaigns menu from the top.

Create new Constant Contact campaign

The campaigns page lists all your current, past, and automated email campaigns. Click on the create button to start a new email.

You will be asked to select a campaign type. Click to select the ‘Email’ campaign type and continue.

Select email campaign type

Next, you need to pick an email template for your newsletter. Constant Contact comes with several ready-made template for different industries, campaigns, and email types.

Choose an email template

All these email templates are fully customizable, and you can add your own logo and images to customize them. Once you edit and save a template, you will be able to use it for your future campaigns.

We recommend starting with a simple newsletter template and customizing it with your own brand logo.

Simply click on a template to select it for your email newsletter. Constant Contact will then load the email builder with your selected template.

Editing your email template

This is the same email builder that you used to create your welcome email. You can add your brand logo, point and click to add text, link, and images.

Adding your blog posts to the email newsletter

You can also fetch and add your blog posts to the newsletter. Click on the ‘More’ button in the left column and then drag and drop the ‘Read More’ block to your email.

Adding blog posts with read more link

Next, you need to click on the ‘Read more’ block to edit it. This will bring up a popup where you need to enter the link of the blog post you want to add.

Add blog post to your email

Click on the preview button to fetch a featured image and article description and then click on the Insert button. Repeat the process to add more blog posts if needed.

Once you are satisfied with your email’s design and contents, click on the ‘Continue’ button to move forward.

Continue to email settings

On the next screen, first, you need to select the email address you want to send this message. After that, review other email settings on the page.

Email settings and scheduling

Lastly, you need to select whether you want to send this email right away or schedule it to send later.

We recommend sending your emails on a fixed schedule. This helps your users anticipate the arrival of your email and sets expectations. For more on this topic, see this guide on choosing the best time to send newsletter emails.

Click on the Schedule button at the top right corner of the screen to save your email.

That’s all, you have successfully created your first newsletter email and scheduled to send it.

Need help with writing effective newsletter emails? See these tips on writing effective email newsletters.

Step 6. Tips to Get More Email Subscribers

In 2018, the number of global e-mail users amounted to 3.8 billion users.

In another study, 48% of participants said that they would like to receive email updates from their favorite brands.

This means that users prefer to get emails from their favorite businesses. Now the only question that remains is how do you get them to subscribe to your newsletter?

Luckily, email marketing has been around for a very long time. Experts are regularly experimenting, sharing, and finding new ways to grow their email lists.

Here we will share some of our own tips that are tested and proven to work.

1. Use multiple signup forms

Many beginners just add a single newsletter signup form to their website and forget about it. Add multiple signup forms to your website using a variety of placements.

Multiple signup forms

However, you need to be careful not to ruin user experience with aggressive prompts to signup.

For example, in the screenshot above, the second prompt only appears when a user scrolls down and the first signup form is no longer visible.

Social Media Examiner uses multiple sign up forms and creative strategies which has helped them get over 250,000 email subscribers (case study).

Keep experimenting with different forms and placements to find out what gets you the best results.

2. Use lead magnets to capture more subscribers

Lead Magnets are special offers used as an incentive to join your email newsletter. These special offers could be an exclusive download, an ebook, a helpful resource, discount coupon, etc.

Lead Magnets work extremely well because they offer users instant gratification and value for performing an action.

You can see a live example of lead magnets just below this article, where we offer users a free download of our ultimate WordPress toolkit as an incentive.

Lead magnet example

3. Offer Content Upgrades

Similar to lead magnets, content upgrades offer users an additional piece of content or bonus content, which they can download after signing up for your newsletter.

You can easily add content upgrades to your existing content. This can be a checklist, a PDF download of the article, a case study, a research report, and more.

Content upgrade example

For more details, see our guide on how to add content upgrades in WordPress.

4. Use social media to grow your email list

Promoting newsletter on social media

Your website is not the only place to promote your newsletter and find new subscribers. Social media platforms can be another place to convert followers into email subscribers.

For detailed tips, see our guide on how to use social media to grow your email list

Need even more tips? Check out the following email marketing guides:

  • 73 proven tips to grow your email list
  • How to do lead generation in WordPress
  • 12 tips to grow your email list quickly

Step 7. How to Make Money from Email Newsletter

One of the popular sayings among digital marketers is that “The money is in the list”. Every dollar you spend on email marketing has a return average of $32 dollars.

As your subscriber count grows, you would want to explore opportunities to monetize your email newsletter.

Following are just some of the easiest ways to make money from your email newsletter.

1. Sell your products

Sell your own products

First, you would obviously want to use your email list to sell your own products. You can use your email list to send special offers and discount deals exclusive to your subscribers.

You can also bring them back to your website by adding calls to action, offer members-only content, demo, and free samples.

When trying to sell your own products, keep the ‘Value Value Value Pitch’ formula in your mind.

It basically suggests that you should offer three times more value than your sales pitch. Most marketers agree that such emails work better than those that are nothing more than a plain sales pitch.

2. Upsell products and services

Upselling is a sales technique to persuade customers into buying something additional like an upgrade or add-on. As your email list grows, you can send personalized offers to existing customers.

Upselling through email

Due to its highly targeted messaging and personalized offers, upsell emails tend to perform way better. This may lead many businesses to send more such emails.

You need to remember that your emails should offer value first, otherwise those emails would soon become annoying.

3. Affiliate marketing

affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is a referral program where an online retailer (advertiser) pays you a commission when users purchase their product using your referral link.

You can find products and services that might interest your users and add affiliate links, reviews, and coupons in your newsletter emails.

To get started, see our beginner’s guide to affiliate marketing.

4. Advertisement or renting out your email list

If your email list grows quickly, then you can make money by renting your email list.

You see, a lot of folks don’t realize the potential of email marketing until they realize that they could benefit immensely from an email list.

Lucky for you, they are now looking for someone who may already have a list of people interested in specific products, services, or industry.

You can approach such advertisers directly, or you can find email list brokers like Info USA, List Giant, or Mailing List Direct.

Step 8. Keep Your Newsletter Emails Out of Spam

How to make avoid ending up in spam

In 2012, 90% of all emails were spam. This number was reduced to 58% by the end of 2018.

The main reason for this decline was the improved spam detection and prevention technologies used by email marketing tools.

This is great news for all users and businesses. However, the AI-powered spam detection technologies are quite sensitive and can wrongfully mark your email messages as spam.

Following are the most common reasons for newsletter emails to end up in spam:

1. You didn’t use double opt-in

Basically, all email marketing services including Constant Contact require users’ consent for sending them emails. This is done by the user verifying their email address after signing up.

However, they also allow you to manually add email addresses. If you misuse this feature and add email addresses from random sources, then your messages will end up in spam.

2. Sender email address was used for spam

If your sender email address was used to send spam or malware, then your email campaigns with the same sender address will end up in spam. This is why you need to get a business email address to ensure high deliverability for your newsletter emails.

3. Misleading subject lines

Misleading email subjects are annoying and due to many users reporting such emails, spam algorithms can now identify many such lines and mark them spam.

Following are a couple of examples of common misleading subject lines.

  • Urgent: Update your information
  • Thanks for your order!
  • You have won a prize

Need some good examples? See these 160+ excellent email subject lines for inspiration.

4. Your email must have accurate information

The anti-spam laws in many countries require the sender to provide accurate from address (sender email address), complete physical address, and an unsubscribe link in the email message.

If any of these are missing from your newsletter email, then it would most likely end up in spam.

Basically, you need to follow the rules and guidelines provided by your email marketing software and you’ll be able to avoid the spam folder.

We hope this article helped you learn how to easily create an email newsletter. You may also want to see our article on how to get a free business email address to send your newsletter emails.

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

The post How to Create an Email Newsletter the RIGHT WAY (Step by Step) appeared first on WPBeginner.



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How to Create a Web Directory in WordPress (Step by Step)


Are you looking to create a business web directory? Web directories are a popular online business idea, allowing you to monetize your website with user-generated content.

Angie’s list, a popular web directory that helps homeowners find reliable contractors and service providers. They’re worth over 9 billion dollars.

Whether you’re looking to create a niche web directory to make money online, or a partners directory to list your vendors, you can easily do it in WordPress.

In this article, we will show how to easily create a web directory in WordPress. We will cover how to accept payments for your premium web directory listings.

How to Create a Web Directory in WordPress

What is a Web Directory?

A web directory is like a catalog that lists businesses or individuals with details such as contact information, services, features, etc.

Web directories allow users to browse through a catalog of links divided into topics, categories, and interest areas. A perfect example of a web directory is Yellow Pages or Angie’s List.

They are most commonly used to help people find a place or service they are looking for.

Another web directory example is Yelp which allows people to find great local businesses like restaurants, dentists, beauty salons, doctors, etc.

While there are several web directory themes for WordPress that allow you to create a web directory, we don’t recommend them because you will get locked into the theme forever.

This is why we will only show you plugin methods, so you can use it with any theme design that you want.

Having that said, let’s take a look at how to create a web directory in WordPress.

Method 1: Creating a WordPress Directory with Formidable Forms

Formidable Forms is the most advanced WordPress form builder plugin in the market. It helps you to create a simple contact form as well as advanced forms like surveys, payment forms, registration forms, and more for your WordPress site.

The plugin comes with an exclusive feature called ‘Views’ which lets you display any data submitted via a form on the front-end of your website. Using this feature, you can easily create directories, real estate listings, job board, event calendars, and more.

Let’s create a business directory using the Formidable Forms plugin.

1. Create a Form to Collect Data for Your Directory

First thing you need to do is install and activate Formidable Forms plugin. For detailed instructions, see our guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Once the plugin is installed and activated, go to Formidable » Forms and click on ‘Add New’ button.

Add New Formidable Form

Now you can choose how you want to create a form. You can start with a blank form, with a template, or import one from an XML file.

Choose a Way to Add a New Formidable Form

We will choose the template method because it is the quickest way to make an advanced form. Formidable Forms offers more than 20 pre-made form templates out of the box.

For example, we will choose ‘Real Estate Listings’ to create a real estate directory. Click the ‘Create Form’ to get started.

Create Real Estate Form with Formidable Forms

You will see a popup box where you will be asked to enter your form name and description.

Name Your Formidable Form

After that, it will load the pre-built real estate submission form.

Formidable Forms - Form Builder Interface

You can review and customize the form using the simple drag and drop interface. Once done, click on the ‘Update’ button.

If you want to create a premium web directory with paid listings, then you’ll need to connect your form with a payment gateway.

Formidable allows you to collect payments with PayPal, Stripe, and Authorize.net.

In this example, we will show how to integrate PayPal to accept payments. Go to Formidable » Add-Ons from your dashboard and install the ‘PayPal Standard’ addon.

Install PayPal Standard Addon in Formidable Forms

Once the addon is installed and active, visit Formidable » Global Settings and click the PayPal option. Update your PayPal email address and other settings.

Set Up PayPal with Formidable Forms

After that, open your respective form editor again, and click the ‘Settings’ option at the top.

Form Settings - Formidable Forms

Next, click on the ‘Form Actions’ tab and then select the PayPal icon to add a new action.

Add PayPal Form Action to Formidable Forms

Now you need to configure the PayPal settings. Add a payment amount, choose a payment type (one-time payment, donation or subscription), select currency, and then add a return URL and cancel URL.

Formidable Payment Options with PayPal

Once done, don’t forget to Update your form.

Now that payment option is integrated, your users will need to make a payment before submitting a real estate property via your form.

2. Publish Your Form in WordPress

The next step after building a form is to publish it on your website, so users can submit their business details using it.

Visit Pages » Add New from your dashboard to create a new page. After that, name your page and add the Formidable Forms widget to the editor.

Add Formidable Form Widget to WordPress Page

Next, select your form.

Select Your Form to Add to a WordPress Page

After that, it will load the pre-built real estate submission form into your page editor.

You can also add some helpful content to the page. Once done, go ahead and publish your page.

Now you can add the submission form page to your WordPress navigation menu, or send an email campaign to your email list to get more form submissions.

The process of collecting data via a form may take some time, so it is better to make a plan before starting. Alternately, you can also create entries manually from your dashboard or import from a CSV file.

3. Build Your Web Directory with Formidable Views

After you have gathered plenty of information, you can create a web directory with the Formidable Views.

Navigate to Formidable » Views from your dashboard and click on the ‘Add New’ button.

Add New View in Formidable Forms

After that, enter a title for your view and choose the form which contains the data you want to display.

Formidable View Basic Settings

Next, you should choose the view format. You can show all entries in a list, a single entry, list the entries with a link to the single entry page, or insert entries into a calendar.

For this tutorial, we will choose ‘Both (Dynamic) – list the entries that will link to a single entry page’ option.

If you want to add a Search bar in your web directory, add the following shortcode into the ‘Before Content’ box.

[frm-search]

Add Search Bar in Your Formidable View

After that, you need to add content to your directory listing in the following format.

<div class="listing_info"> 
<a href="[detaillink]"><img src="[home-image size=thumbnail]" alt=""/></a>
</div> 
<div class="listing_list">
<strong><a href="[detaillink]">[MLS ID]</a></strong>
<strong>[address]</strong> <strong>$[listing-price]</strong> [blurb] 
[bedroom] Bedrooms | [bathroom] Bath |[sqft-living] sq. ft.</div> 
<div style="clear:both;"></div>

In the above code, you need to replace home-image, MLS ID, address, listing price, blurb, bedroom, bathroom, and sqft-living with the respective field IDs/keys from your form.

You can find the field IDs/keys in the Customization box on the right-hand side of the page.

Formidable Forms Filed Keys

For example, if we want to show the photo uploaded via ‘Main Photo Upload’ field as the home image, we need to replace the ‘home-image’ with the field ID ‘63’.

Insert Content Into Your Web Directory

After that, add the following code to into Formidable » Styles » Custom CSS to customize the appearance of your web directory.

 .listing_infofloat:left; width:235px; margin-right:10px; 
.listings_list imgwidth:370px;float:right;

Add Style to Your Formidable View

Once done, you can publish your view and preview it.

After that, create a new page for the web directory and add your Formidable View to it.

Add Formidable View to a WordPress Page

Here is how your real estate directory would look with the default Twenty Nineteen theme.

Real Estate Web Directory Demo

You can further customize and style your Formidable directory by either using custom CSS, a drag & drop WordPress page builder plugin, or a styling plugin like CSS Hero.

Method 2: Using Business Directory Plugin

The second method is by actually using a Business Directory Plugin. Remember while the main plugin is free, a lot of functionality will require you to purchase the PRO version of the plugin.

Start by installing and activating the Business Directory Plugin. Upon activation, the plugin will ask your permission to create a new WordPress page and add the business directory shortcode inside it.

Click on the ‘Create required pages for me’ to create your directory page.

Create Required Pages for Business Directory Plugin

Once done, the Business Directory plugin will add a new page called ‘Business Directory’ automatically.

Business Directory Page Added in WordPress

You should not delete or hide this page because it is the primary page the Business Directory plugin uses to show a directory on your website.

Next, you can manage the plugin settings from the ‘Directory Admin’ menu in your dashboard.

Go to Directory Admin » Manage Options to configure your plugin’s main settings. The ‘General’ settings include permalink settings, directory search options, reCAPTCHA, registration options, and more.

Business Directory Plugin Settings

As you can see in the screenshot above, there are settings for Listings, Email, Payment, and Appearance. You can review all of them one by one and make changes as per your requirements.

After that, visit Directory Admin » Manage Form Fields to customize your form fields. From here, you can add or edit fields which would appear on your directory submission form.

Manage Form Fields in Business Directory Plugin

Next, you will need to create a few categories for your directory.

You can do this by going to Directory » Directory Categories. You will be required to create at least one category, so your users can use this category when submitting their listing.

Add New Directory Category with Business Directory Plugin

Once you have created the categories, you can go ahead and create a new listing by visiting Directory » Add New Listing.

Now you would see the Add New Listing page which looks similar to the Classic WordPress editor. Enter your listing title, and add a short description about your listing.

Add New Listing With Business Directory Plugin

After that, scroll down to ‘Directory Listing Fields/Images’ section and add your business details including website address, phone number, email, etc.

Fill out Directory Listing Fields manually

To add images, you will need to click on the Images link first. Then, you can upload images from your computer or simply drop in the image box.

Upload Image to Your WordPress Business Directory

Next, you will need to choose an appropriate category for your listing.

Choose Directory Category

Once done, you can go ahead and publish your directory.

Now you can preview your web directory page on your website. Your web directory would look like the screenshot below with the default WordPress theme Twenty Nineteen.

Business Directory Demo with Default WordPress Theme

As a site administrator, you can create a listing manually from your dashboard. Your users can also submit a listing in your directory using a form. The submission form can be accessed by clicking on the ‘Create A Listing’ button.

Submit a Listing with the Business Directory Plugin

The user-submitted listing items will be saved in the Directory » Directory page as pending listing, so you can manually review and check the listing for quality.

Pending Directory Listing

Once done, they will appear on your business directory page.

Accepting Payments for Directory Listings

Business Directory Plugin allows you to accept payments for listings in your web directory. By default, the plugin only comes with Authorize.net as the payment gateway.

Other payment gateways such as PayPal and Stripe are available as separate add-ons which you can purchase from the plugin’s website.

To enable payment options in your business directory, you need to go to Directory Admin » Manage Options page and click on the ‘Payments’ tab.

Business Directory Plugin Payment Settings

In the payment settings page, the first option on the Payment Settings screen is the checkbox to turn on payments. If your site is not fully ready yet, then you can click the checkbox next to Put payment gateways in test mode? option.

Next step is to choose your currency and add a thank you message for payments.

Once you are done configuring payment options, then click on the save changes button to store your settings.

Now you can connect your directory with a payment provider. If you have not installed any other payment gateway add-on plugin, then you will only see Authorize.net as the default payment gateway option.

Click on the Authorize.net link and then enable it by entering your login ID and transaction key.

Business Directory Plugin Authorize.net Settings

Since you are requiring payments, you will need to set up listing fees. This can be done by going to Directory Admin » Manage Fees. There you can create different listing plans, set up fees and listing duration for each plan and save your changes.

That’s all! Your web directory is now ready to accept paid listings. We recommend you to explore other options in the plugin’s settings for further optimization of your web directory.

We hope this article helped you create a web directory using WordPress. You may also want to see our guide on how to create a team directory 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 Create a Web Directory in WordPress (Step by Step) appeared first on WPBeginner.



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


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

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

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

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

How to create a staging site for WordPress

What is a Staging Site?

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Easily Create a WordPress Staging Site

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

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

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

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

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

Creating A Staging Site on Bluehost

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

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

Staging site option on Bluehost

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

Create staging site on Bluehost

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

Go to your staging site

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

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

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

Deploying changes from staging to live site on Bluehost

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

Deploy staging to live website on Bluehost

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

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

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

Confirm deploy

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

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

Creating a Staging Site on SiteGround

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

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

Staging icon in SiteGround cPanel

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

Add site to staging manager

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

Select URL

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

Create staging site copy

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

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

Password protect staging site

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

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

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

Manage staging copies

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

Deploy staging to live

Creating a Staging Site on WP Engine

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

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

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

Sites WP Engine

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

Add staging site in WP Engine

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

Create new staging site

Click on the Create Environment button to continue.

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

Let’s change this.

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

Copy to staging

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

Select back up point

Click on the preview copy button to continue.

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

Copy website warning

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

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

Deploying Staging to Live Website on WP Engine

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

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

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

Create a backup point for your staging website

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

Create backup of your staging site

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

You are now ready to deploy your staging site.

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

Copy to production

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

Select back up point

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

Copying environment

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

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

Creating A Staging Site using WordPress Plugin

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

There are some disadvantages to using this method.

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

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

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

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

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

WP Stagecoach settings

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

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

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

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

Create staging site using WP Stagecoach

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

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

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

Deploying Staging Site to Live Using WP Stagecoach

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

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

Impoting changes from staging

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

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

Create a Staging Site for WordPress Manually

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

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

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

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

Create subdomain for your staging site

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

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

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

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

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

Create Duplicator package

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

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

Build package

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

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

Download and package and installer files

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

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

MySQL Database

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

Create database

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

Create MySQL user

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

Add user to database

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

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

Grant privileges

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

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

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

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

This will launch the Duplicator installer wizard.

Duplicator installer wizard

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

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

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

Connect database

Once done, click on the next button to continue.

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

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

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

Update URLs if needed

Duplicator will now finish the migration.

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

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

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

Directory privacy

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

Password protect your staging site

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

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

Manually Deploy Staging Site to Live

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How to Fix Image Upload Issue in WordPress (Step by Step)


Are you facing image upload issues on your WordPress website? For most beginners, image upload errors can be quite confusing because they can appear without you doing anything different.

Failure to upload images is one of the most common image issues in WordPress. Luckily, it is quite easy to fix, and you can do it yourself.

In this article, we will show you how to easily fix the image upload issue in WordPress. We will also explain what causes this issue, and how you can prevent it in the future.

Fixing image upload issues in WordPress

What Causes The Image Upload Issue in WordPress

The image upload issue in WordPress is typically caused by incorrect file permissions. Your WordPress files are stored on your web hosting server and need specific file and directory permissions to work.

Wrong file permissions prevent WordPress from reading or uploading file on the hosting server. You may get the following error when uploading image file:

‘Unable to create directory wp-content/uploads/2019/04. Is its parent directory writable by the server?’

Unable to create directory error

Another sign of this issue is that your images may disappear from the media library.

Missing images in media library

My site was working fine before? Who changed the file permissions?

This could happen due to a number of reasons. A misconfiguration on your shared hosting server can sometimes change those permissions without you doing anything.

For example, your web hosting provider ran an upgrade which unexpectedly changed file permissions.

If everything else is working fine on your website, then you can simply apply the correct file permissions to fix the image upload issue.

That being said, let’s take a look at how to set correct file permissions to fix image upload issues in WordPress.

Fixing Image Upload Issue in WordPress

You will need to use an FTP client to change file permissions.

First, connect to your website via FTP and then go to /wp-content/ folder. Inside, you’ll find the uploads folder, which is where WordPress stores all your media uploads including images.

Now right click on the uploads directory and then select File Permissions.

Opening file permissions dialog box for uploads folder

This will bring up the file permissions dialog box.

First, you will need to set file permissions for the uploads directory and all the subdirectories inside it to 744.

Change folder permissions

To do that, enter 744 in the numeric value box, and then check the box next to Recurse into subdirectories option. Now click on the ‘Apply to directories only’ radio button.

Click on the OK button to apply these changes. Your FTP client will now start applying file permissions to the directories.

Note: If setting directory permissions to 744 does not seem to solve your problem, then try 755.

In the next step, you will need to set file permissions for all the files in the uploads directory.

To do that, right click on uploads directory and select file permissions. In the file permissions dialog box, change the numeric value to 644.

Check the box next to Recurse into subdirectories. Lastly, you need to click on ‘Apply to files only’ radio button. Click on the OK button to apply these changes.

File permissions

The FTP client will now change the permissions for all files inside the uploads folder. Once it is done, you can go back to your WordPress admin area and try uploading images again.

Note: if you don’t know how to use a FTP client, then you can also use the file manager provided by your WordPress hosting company. Since the screenshots will vary from each host, you will need to talk to their support to find instructions.

We hope this article helped you fix the image upload issue in WordPress. You may also want to see our article on how to optimize image SEO to get more organic traffic to your website.

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

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4 Easy Ways to Re-Order Blog Posts in WordPress (Step by Step)


Do you want to change the order of your blog posts in WordPress?

By default, WordPress displays your blog posts in reverse chronological order (newer posts first), but sometimes you may need to move specific posts up or down.

While it may feel like there is no way to do this in WordPress, you’ll be surprised to learn how easily you can change post order using multiple ways.

In this article, we will show you 4 different ways to re-order blog posts in WordPress. You can pick a solution that looks easier and fits your needs.

Ways to easily re-order blog posts in WordPress

Why Re-order Blog Posts in WordPress?

If you are just starting a blog, then you will not need to re-order your blog posts right away. However as your content grows, you may want to explore different ways to promote content across your website.

One of them is to make specific posts more prominently displayed on the front page, blog page, recent posts, or archive pages.

Now the problem is that WordPress normally displays your blog posts in a reverse chronological order. There is no option to simply just move a post up and down.

Does this mean you cannot bring your older articles to the front page? Or remove a newer article from the recent posts?

No, not at all.

There are multiple workarounds that let you do just that. Depending on your needs, you can choose the method that suits your requirements.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can easily re-order blog posts on your WordPress site.

1. Change Post’s Published Date

This is the easiest method and allows you to re-order posts using the built-in WordPress functionality.

As you know that WordPress displays posts based on their publish date in reverse chronological order (newer posts first). Changing a post’s publish date will also change where it appears in the list.

Reorder posts by changing published date

For example, if you wanted to bring an older post up, you would have to change its date to be newer. Similarly if you wanted to move a post down, then you can change its date to be older.

Simply edit the post you want to reorder and on the post edit screen click on the publish date under the Document panel.

Change publish date for a blog post

This will bring up a date and time popup where you can change the post’s published date and time. After you have changed the date/time, click on the ‘Update’ button to save your changes.

You need to select a date relevant to other posts.

For example, if you wanted to display an older post before another post that was published on 8 March, then you need to change the post’s publish date to 9 March.

Post moved up

2. Use Post Types Order Plugin (Drag and Drop Option)

If you want to re-order posts but don’t want to change their publish dates, then this method is for you.

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

Upon activation, you need to visit Settings » Post Types Order page to change plugin’s settings.

Post Types Order settings

From here, you need to select the post types where you want to enable the plugin. After that, simply click on the ‘Save settings’ button to store your changes.

Now you can just go to Posts » All Posts page and simply drag and drop posts to re-order them.

Reorder blog posts by drag and drop

3. Use Sticky Posts Feature in WordPress

Many users just want to reorder blog posts to highlight a blog post as featured content. WordPress comes with a default feature to achieve that, and it’s called Sticky posts.

Sticky posts feature allows you to highlight a post on top of all other posts on your blog page.

Simply edit the blog post that you want to pin to the top. On the post edit screen, check the box next to ‘Stick to the Front Page’ option under ‘Document’ panel.

Make a post sticky in WordPress

After that, click on the ‘Update’ button to save your changes.

You can now visit your website, and you will see the selected post pinned to the top. Depending on your theme, your sticky post will be highlighted differently.

Sticky post highlighted in WordPress

4. Modify WordPress Query using Code (Advanced)

This method requires you to add code to your WordPress site. If you haven’t done this before, then see our guide on how to copy and paste the code in WordPress.

If you are an advanced user and want to customize the post order, then you can modify the default WordPress query.

For example, take a look at this code snippet. It allows you to display posts in chronological order (older posts first).

//function to modify default WordPress query
function wpb_custom_query( $query ) 

// Make sure we only modify the main query on the homepage	
	if( $query->is_main_query() && ! is_admin() && $query->is_home() ) 

 	 	// Set parameters to modify the query
 		$query->set( 'orderby', 'date' );
		$query->set( 'order', 'DESC' );
	


// Hook our custom query function to the pre_get_posts 
add_action( 'pre_get_posts', 'wpb_custom_query' );

This code simply modifies the orderby and order parameters in the default WordPress query.

However, this code may sometimes not work as expected due to some plugins or theme already modifying the default query. To fix that, you can use the supress_filters parameter like this:

//function to modify default WordPress query
function wpb_custom_query( $query ) 

// Make sure we only modify the main query on the homepage	
	if( $query->is_main_query() && ! is_admin() && $query->is_home() ) 

 	 	// Set parameters to modify the query
 		$query->set( 'orderby', 'date' );
		$query->set( 'order', 'DESC' );
		$query->set( 'suppress_filters', 'true' );
	


// Hook our custom query function to the pre_get_posts 
add_action( 'pre_get_posts', 'wpb_custom_query' );

The oderby parameter comes with many options. See the full list of options on the WP Query codex page.

We hope this article helped you learn easy ways to re-order blog posts in WordPress. You may also want to see our ultimate list of most wanted WordPress tips and tricks that you can use on 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 4 Easy Ways to Re-Order Blog Posts in WordPress (Step by Step) appeared first on WPBeginner.



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How to Paginate Comments in WordPress (Step by Step)


Have you noticed that your blog posts with a lot of comments load slower than other posts? That’s because loading so many comments increase server load which increases your average page load time.

Having a lot of comments is a good thing because it means that your users are engaged with your content. Your most commented posts are usually the most popular posts on your blog.

However if a lot of comments are slowing down your website, then it can hurt your SEO rankings. That’s when pagination for WordPress comments comes handy.

In this article, we will show you how to paginate comments in WordPress to speed up your post load time. The best part is that it comes as a default feature in WordPress, and it is very easy.

Paginate comments in WordPress

Why You Should Paginate Comments in WordPress

Comment pagination helps you improve your website speed which is an important factor in your website SEO rankings.

Many of our users have reported that sometimes posts with a lot of comments can cause their readers to see white screen of death because it exhausts their server’s memory.

Even when it doesn’t cause ‘white screen of death’, posts with a lot of comments tend to be really really slow.

Comment pagination reduces server load for your most commented posts by splitting comments into multiple pages.

Another reason to paginate your WordPress comments is to maintain the keyword density of your articles. Comments add a lot of content to your post’s page, and they may not always include your target keywords in a sufficient amount.

When keyword ratio to content decreases, search engines fail to index your post for the right keywords.

Comment pagination can also have a negative SEO impact if it is not used correctly. Basically, WordPress generates URLs for each new page of comments. Search engines may consider this as ‘duplicate content’.

This issue can be easily fixed by using the Yoast SEO plugin, which points search engines to the canonical URL of your article.

Now that we have discussed the pros and cons of comment pagination, let’s take a look at how to easily paginate comments in WordPress.

Paginating WordPress Comments in Two Steps

The first thing you need to do is login to your WordPress admin area and go to Settings » Discussions page.

Next, look for the ‘Break comments into pages’ option. From here you need to enter the number of comments you want on each page, and how you want to display them.

Break Comments into Pages in WordPress Posts

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

You can now visit any popular post on your website that has a lot of comments. You will notice the pagination links below the comments.

Depending on your theme’s styling, you will either see numeric pagination or ‘Previous / Next’ comment links.

Here is how comment pagination looks on our article 24 “Must Have” WordPress Plugins.

WordPress Comments Pagination in WPBeginner

Note: Just like comments, you can also paginate WordPress posts by splitting a long post into multiple pages.

We hope that this tutorial helped you paginate comments in WordPress. You might also want to see our guide on how to combat comment spam 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.



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The Ultimate WordPress Security Guide (Step by Step)


WordPress security is a topic of huge importance for every website owner. Google blacklists around 10,000+ websites every day for malware and around 50,000 for phishing every week.

If you are serious about your website, then you need to pay attention to the WordPress security best practices. In this guide, we will share all the top WordPress security tips to help you protect your website against hackers and malware.

Complete WordPress security guide

While WordPress core software is very secure, and it’s audited regularly by hundreds of developers, there is a lot that can be done to keep your site secure.

At WPBeginner, we believe that security is not just about risk elimination. It’s also about risk reduction. As a website owner, there’s a lot that you can do to improve your WordPress security (even if you’re not tech savvy).

We have a number of actionable steps that you can take to protect your website against security vulnerabilities.

To make it easy, we have created a table of content to help you easily navigate through our ultimate WordPress security guide.

Table of Contents

Basics of WordPress Security

WordPress Security in Easy Steps (No Coding)

WordPress Security for DIY Users

Ready? Let’s get started.

Why Website Security is Important?

A hacked WordPress site can cause serious damage to your business revenue and reputation. Hackers can steal user information, passwords, install malicious software, and can even distribute malware to your users.

Worst, you may find yourself paying ransomware to hackers just to regain access to your website.

Why WordPress security is important

In March 2016, Google reported that more than 50 million website users have been warned about a website they’re visiting may contain malware or steal information.

Furthermore, Google blacklists around 20,000 websites for malware and around 50,000 for phishing each week.

If your website is a business, then you need to pay extra attention to your WordPress security.

Similar to how it’s the business owners responsibility to protect their physical store building, as an online business owner it is your responsibility to protect your business website.

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Keeping WordPress Updated

Keeping WordPress updated

WordPress is an open source software which is regularly maintained and updated. By default, WordPress automatically installs minor updates. For major releases, you need to manually initiate the update.

WordPress also comes with thousands of plugins and themes that you can install on your website. These plugins and themes are maintained by third-party developers which regularly release updates as well.

These WordPress updates are crucial for the security and stability of your WordPress site. You need to make sure that your WordPress core, plugins, and theme are up to date.

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Strong Passwords and User Permissions

Manage strong passwords

The most common WordPress hacking attempts use stolen passwords. You can make that difficult by using stronger passwords that are unique for your website. Not just for WordPress admin area, but also for FTP accounts, database, WordPress hosting account, and your custom email addresses which use your site’s domain name.

Many beginners don’t like using strong passwords because they’re hard to remember. The good thing is that you don’t need to remember passwords anymore. You can use a password manager. See our guide on how to manage WordPress passwords.

Another way to reduce the risk is to not give anyone access to your WordPress admin account unless you absolutely have to. If you have a large team or guest authors, then make sure that you understand user roles and capabilities in WordPress before you add new user accounts and authors to your WordPress site.

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The Role of WordPress Hosting

Your WordPress hosting service plays the most important role in the security of your WordPress site. A good shared hosting provider like Bluehost or Siteground take the extra measures to protect their servers against common threats.

Here is how a good web hosting company works in the background to protect your websites and data.

  • They continuously monitor their network for suspicious activity.
  • All good hosting companies have tools in place to prevent large scale DDOS attacks
  • They keep their server software and hardware up to date to prevent hackers from exploiting a known security vulnerability in an old version.
  • They have ready to deploy disaster recovery and accidents plans which allows them to protect your data in case of major accident.

On a shared hosting plan, you share the server resources with many other customers. This opens the risk of cross-site contamination where a hacker can use a neighboring site to attack your website.

Using a managed WordPress hosting service provides a more secure platform for your website. Managed WordPress hosting companies offer automatic backups, automatic WordPress updates, and more advanced security configurations to protect your website

We recommend WPEngine as our preferred managed WordPress hosting provider. They’re also the most popular one in the industry. (See our special WPEngine coupon).

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WordPress Security in Easy Steps (No Coding)

We know that improving WordPress security can be a terrifying thought for beginners. Especially if you’re not techy. Guess what – you’re not alone.

We have helped thousands of WordPress users in hardening their WordPress security.

We will show you how you can improve your WordPress security with just a few clicks (no coding required).

If you can point-and-click, you can do this!

Install a WordPress Backup Solution

Install a WordPress backup solution

Backups are your first defense against any WordPress attack. Remember, nothing is 100% secure. If government websites can be hacked, then so can yours.

Backups allow you to quickly restore your WordPress site in case something bad was to happen.

There are many free and paid WordPress backup plugins that you can use. The most important thing you need to know when it comes to backups is that you must regularly save full-site backups to a remote location (not your hosting account).

We recommend storing it on a cloud service like Amazon, Dropbox, or private clouds like Stash.

Based on how frequently you update your website, the ideal setting might be either once a day or real-time backups.

Thankfully this can be easily done by using plugins like VaultPress or UpdraftPlus. They are both reliable and most importantly easy to use (no coding needed).

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Best WordPress Security Plugin

After backups, the next thing we need to do is setup an auditing and monitoring system that keeps track of everything that happens on your website.

This includes file integrity monitoring, failed login attempts, malware scanning, etc.

Thankfully, this can be all taken care by the best free WordPress security plugin, Sucuri Scanner.

You need to install and activate the free Sucuri Security plugin. For more details, please see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you need to go to the Sucuri menu in your WordPress admin. The first thing you will be asked to do is Generate a free API key. This enables audit logging, integrity checking, email alerts, and other important features.

Generate Sucuri API Key

The next thing, you need to do is click on the ‘Hardening’ tab from the settings menu. Go through every option and click on the “Apply Hardening” button.

Sucuri security hardening

These options help you lock down the key areas that hackers often use in their attacks. The only hardening option that’s a paid upgrade is the Web Application Firewall which we will explain in the next step, so skip it for now.

We have also covered a lot of these “Hardening” options later in this article for those who want to do it without using a plugin or the ones that require additional steps such as “Database Prefix change” or “Changing the Admin Username”.

After the hardening part, the default plugin settings are good enough for most websites and don’t need any changes. The only thing we recommend customizing is ‘Email Alerts’.

The default alert settings can clutter your inbox with emails. We recommend receiving alerts for key actions like changes in plugins, new user registration, etc. You can configure the alerts by going to Sucuri Settings » Alerts.

Set up security email alerts

This WordPress security plugin is very powerful, so browse through all the tabs and settings to see all that it does such as Malware scanning, Audit logs, Failed Login Attempt tracking, etc.

Enable Web Application Firewall (WAF)

The easiest way to protect your site and be confident about your WordPress security is by using a web application firewall (WAF).

A website firewall blocks all malicious traffic before it even reaches your website.

DNS Level Website Firewall – These firewall route your website traffic through their cloud proxy servers. This allows them to only send genuine traffic to your web server.

Application Level Firewall – These firewall plugins examine the traffic once it reaches your server but before loading most WordPress scripts. This method is not as efficient as the DNS level firewall in reducing the server load.

To learn more, see our list of the best WordPress firewall plugins.

Sucuri WAF

We use and recommend Sucuri as the best web-application firewall for WordPress. You can read about how Sucuri helped us block 450,000 WordPress attacks in a month.

Attacks blocked by Sucuri

The best part about Sucuri’s firewall is that it also comes with a malware cleanup and blacklist removal guarantee. Basically if you were to be hacked under their watch, they guarantee that they will fix your website (no matter how many pages you have).

This is a pretty strong warranty because repairing hacked websites is expensive. Security experts normally charge $250 per hour. Whereas you can get the entire Sucuri security stack for $199 per year.

Improve your WordPress Security with the Sucuri Firewall »

Sucuri is not the only DNS level firewall provider out there. The other popular competitor is Cloudflare. See our comparison of Sucuri vs Cloudflare (Pros and Cons).

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Move Your WordPress Site to SSL/HTTPS

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a protocol which encrypts data transfer between your website and users browser. This encryption makes it harder for someone to sniff around and steal information.

How SSL works

Once you enable SSL, your website will use HTTPS instead of HTTP, you will also see a padlock sign next to your website address in the browser.

SSL certificates were typically issued by certificate authorities and their prices start from $80 to hundreds of dollars each year. Due to added cost, most website owners opted to keep using the insecure protocol.

To fix this, a non-profit organization called Let’s Encrypt decided to offer free SSL Certificates to website owners. Their project is supported by Google Chrome, Facebook, Mozilla, and many more companies.

Due to this, it is now easier than ever to start using SSL for all your WordPress websites. For step by step instructions, see our article on how to get a free SSL certificate for your WordPress website.

WordPress Security for DIY Users

If you do everything that we have mentioned thus far, then you’re in a pretty good shape.

But as always, there’s more that you can do to harden your WordPress security.

Some of these steps may require coding knowledge.

Change the Default “admin” username

In the old days, the default WordPress admin username was “admin”. Since usernames make up half of login credentials, this made it easier for hackers to do brute-force attacks.

Thankfully, WordPress has since changed this and now requires you to select a custom username at the time of installing WordPress.

However, some 1-click WordPress installers, still set the default admin username to “admin”. If you notice that to be the case, then it’s probably a good idea to switch your web hosting.

Since WordPress doesn’t allow you to change usernames by default, there are three methods you can use to change the username.

  1. Create a new admin username and delete the old one.
  2. Use the Username Changer plugin
  3. Update username from phpMyAdmin

We have covered all three of these in our detailed guide on how to properly change your WordPress username (step by step).

Note: We’re talking about the username called “admin”, not the administrator role.

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Disable File Editing

WordPress comes with a built-in code editor which allows you to edit your theme and plugin files right from your WordPress admin area. In the wrong hands, this feature can be a security risk which is why we recommend turning it off.

Disable file editing in WordPress

You can easily do this by adding the following code in your wp-config.php file.

// Disallow file edit
define( 'DISALLOW_FILE_EDIT', true );

Alternatively, you can do this with 1-click using the Hardening feature in the free Sucuri plugin that we mentioned above.

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Disable PHP File Execution in Certain WordPress Directories

Another way to harden your WordPress security is by disabling PHP file execution in directories where it’s not needed such as /wp-content/uploads/.

You can do this by opening a text editor like Notepad and paste this code:

<Files *.php>
deny from all
</Files>

Next, you need to save this file as .htaccess and upload it to /wp-content/uploads/ folders on your website using an FTP client.

For more detailed explanation, see our guide on how to disable PHP execution in certain WordPress directories

Alternatively, you can do this with 1-click using the Hardening feature in the free Sucuri plugin that we mentioned above.

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Limit Login Attempts

By default, WordPress allows users to try to login as many time as they want. This leaves your WordPress site vulnerable to brute force attacks. Hackers try to crack passwords by trying to login with different combinations.

This can be easily fixed by limiting the failed login attempts a user can make. If you’re using the web application firewall mentioned earlier, then this is automatically taken care of.

However, if you don’t have the firewall setup, then proceed with the steps below.

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

Upon activation, visit Settings » Login LockDown page to setup the plugin.

Login Lockdown options

For detailed instructions, take a look at our guide on how and why you should limit login attempts in WordPress.

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Add Two Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication technique requires users to log in by using a two-step authentication method. The first one is the username and password, and the second step requires you to authenticate using a separate device or app.

Most top online websites like Google, Facebook, Twitter, allow you to enable it for your accounts. You can also add the same functionality to your WordPress site.

First, you need to install and activate the Two Factor Authentication plugin. Upon activation, you need to click on the ‘Two Factor Auth’ link in WordPress admin sidebar.

Two Factor Authenticator settings

Next, you need to install and open an authenticator app on your phone. There are several of them available like Google Authenticator, Authy, and LastPass Authenticator.

We recommend using LastPass Authenticator or Authy because they both allow you to back up your accounts to the cloud. This is very useful in case your phone is lost, reset, or you buy a new phone. All your account logins will be easily restored.

We will be using the LastPass Authenticator for the tutorial. However, instructions are similar for all auth apps. Open your authenticator app, and then click on the Add button.

Add website

You will be asked if you’d like to scan a site manually or scan the bar code. Select the scan bar code option and then point your phone’s camera on the QRcode shown on the plugin’s settings page.

That’s all, your authentication app will now save it. Next time you log in to your website, you will be asked for the two-factor auth code after you enter your password.

Enter your two-factor auth code

Simply open the authenticator app on your phone and enter the code you see on it.

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Change WordPress Database Prefix

By default, WordPress uses wp_ as the prefix for all tables in your WordPress database. If your WordPress site is using the default database prefix, then it makes it easier for hackers to guess what your table name is. This is why we recommend changing it.

You can change your database prefix by following our step by step tutorial on how to change WordPress database prefix to improve security.

Note: This can break your site if it’s not done properly. Only proceed, if you feel comfortable with your coding skills.

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Password Protect WordPress Admin and Login Page

Password protect WordPress admin area

Normally, hackers can request your wp-admin folder and login page without any restriction. This allows them to try their hacking tricks or run DDoS attacks.

You can add additional password protection on a server-side level, which will effectively block those requests.

Follow our step-by-step instructions on how to password protect your WordPress admin (wp-admin) directory.

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Disable Directory Indexing and Browsing

Disable directory browsing

Directory browsing can be used by hackers to find out if you have any files with known vulnerabilities, so they can take advantage of these files to gain access.

Directory browsing can also be used by other people to look into your files, copy images, find out your directory structure, and other information. This is why it is highly recommended that you turn off directory indexing and browsing.

You need to connect to your website using FTP or cPanel’s file manager. Next, locate the .htaccess file in your website’s root directory. If you cannot see it there, then refer to our guide on why you can’t see .htaccess file in WordPress.

After that, you need to add the following line at the end of the .htaccess file:

Options -Indexes

Don’t forget to save and upload .htaccess file back to your site. For more on this topic, see our article on how to disable directory browsing in WordPress.

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Disable XML-RPC in WordPress

XML-RPC was enabled by default in WordPress 3.5 because it helps connecting your WordPress site with web and mobile apps.

Because of its powerful nature, XML-RPC can significantly amplify the brute-force attacks.

For example, traditionally if a hacker wanted to try 500 different passwords on your website, they would have to make 500 separate login attempts which will be caught and blocked by the login lockdown plugin.

But with XML-RPC, a hacker can use the system.multicall function to try thousands of password with say 20 or 50 requests.

This is why if you’re not using XML-RPC, then we recommend that you disable it.

There are 3 ways to disable XML-RPC in WordPress, and we have covered all of them in our step by step tutorial on how to disable XML-RPC in WordPress.

Tip: The .htaccess method is the best one because it’s the least resource intensive.

If you’re using the web-application firewall mentioned earlier, then this can be taken care of by the firewall.

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Automatically log out Idle Users in WordPress

Logged in users can sometimes wander away from screen, and this poses a security risk. Someone can hijack their session, change passwords, or make changes to their account.

This is why many banking and financial sites automatically log out an inactive user. You can implement similar functionality on your WordPress site as well.

You will need to install and activate the Inactive Logout plugin. Upon activation, visit Settings » Inactive Logout page to configure plugin settings.

Logout idle users

Simply set the time duration and add a logout message. Don’t forget to click on the save changes button to store your settings.

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Add Security Questions to WordPress Login Screen

Add security question on login screen

Adding a security question to your WordPress login screen makes it even harder for someone to get unauthorized access.

You can add security questions by installing the WP Security Questions plugin. Upon activation, you need to visit Settings » Security Questions page to configure the plugin settings.

For more detailed instructions, see our tutorial on how to add security questions to WordPress login screen.

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Scanning WordPress for Malware and Vulnerabilies

Malware scanning

If you have a WordPress security plugin installed, then those plugins will routinely check for malware and signs of security breaches.

However, if you see a sudden drop in website traffic or search rankings, then you may want to manually run a scan. You can use your WordPress security plugin, or use one of these malware and security scanners.

Running these online scans is quite straight forward, you just enter your website URLs and their crawlers go through your website to look for known malware and malicious code.

Now keep in mind that most WordPress security scanners can just scan your website. They cannot remove the malware or clean a hacked WordPress site.

This brings us to the next section, cleaning up malware and hacked WordPress sites.

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Fixing a Hacked WordPress Site

Many WordPress users don’t realize the importance of backups and website security until their website is hacked.

Cleaning up a WordPress site can be very difficult and time consuming. Our first advice would be to let a professional take care of it.

Hackers install backdoors on affected sites, and if these backdoors are not fixed properly, then your website will likely get hacked again.

Allowing a professional security company like Sucuri to fix your website will ensure that your site is safe to use again. It will also protect you against any future attacks.

For the adventurous and DIY users, we have compiled a step by step guide on fixing a hacked WordPress site.

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That’s all, we hope this article helped you learn the top WordPress security best practices as well as discover the best WordPress security 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 The Ultimate WordPress Security Guide (Step by Step) appeared first on WPBeginner.



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How to Schedule Your Posts in WordPress (Step by Step)


Did you know that WordPress has the ability to schedule your posts to be published at a future time? This extremely useful feature is slightly hidden which is why many beginners don’t even notice it.

By scheduling your posts, you never have to worry about publishing your articles at a specific time. You can finish writing and schedule them to go live on the day and time that you choose.

In this article, we will show you how to easily schedule WordPress posts step by step and share some bonus tips to use WordPress scheduled posts like a Pro.

Schedule posts in WordPress

Why Schedule Posts in WordPress?

To create a successful blog, the best strategy is to plan your editorial calendar and publish articles on a regular basis.

That’s where schedule posts feature comes in handy. You can write your articles at your own pace and get ahead on your editorial calendar. Once you finish writing, you can schedule the post to be published at a specific date and time.

Another reason to schedule your posts is to benefit from peak traffic hours. There is a certain time in a day when each website gets the peak of their users. By publishing at that time, you can leverage existing traffic to increase your page views.

Now if you live in a different time zone than your readers, then it can be a problem. Imagine having your peak time as 3 a.m. where you live. Scheduling posts can be very handy for this.

Scheduling posts also comes in handy when you are going on vacation. You can simply schedule your blog posts and enjoy your holidays without worrying about writing and publishing content.

Now that you understand the benefits, let’s take a look at how to actually schedule your blog posts in WordPress.

How Do You Schedule a Post in WordPress?

It is easy to schedule WordPress posts if you know where to look. The option to schedule blog posts is not easily noticeable.

Once you have finished writing your blog post, you need to look under the ‘Document’ tab in the right column of the edit screen.

Under the ‘Status & Visibility’ panel, you need to click on the ‘Immediately’ link next to ‘Publish’ option.

WordPress post scheduling option

This will show you a date and time picker. You can select the date and time when you want to publish this post.

You can select a future date and time to schedule your article in WordPress.

You can also select a past date using the same tool to back date your blog post.

When you select a future date, you will notice that the publish button at the top will change into ‘Schedule…’.

Publish button changed into Schedule

Simply click on the Schedule button and WordPress will schedule your post.

The scheduled posts will be automatically published on the date and time you choose.

How to Schedule WordPress Posts in Classic Editor

If you are using the classic WordPress editor, then we highly recommend you to start using the new WordPress block editor, called Gutenberg.

The new WordPress editor is incredibly fast, modern, intuitive, and helps you create better content for your blog.

However, if you still want to use the older classic editor, then here is how you would schedule posts in WordPress.

Once you are done writing your post, look under the ‘Publish’ meta box in the right column of the edit screen and click on the ‘Edit’ link next to ‘Publish immediately’ option.

Change when to publish a post in WordPress

It will now show you the date and time options. Go ahead and enter the date and time when you want to publish your blog post and click on the OK button.

Select schedule date and time in classic editor

You’ll notice that the blue ‘Publish’ button will now change into ‘Schedule’. Go ahead and click on the schedule button to save your changes.

WordPress will now publish your blog post on the date and time you entered.

Troubleshooting WordPress Scheduled Posts

As your website grows, you will be regularly managing and scheduling WordPress posts. Following are some handy tips that will help you efficiently manage your scheduled posts in WordPress.

How do I use my own timezone in WordPress?

You need to change WordPress timezone settings, so that it uses your preferred timezone to publish scheduled posts.

How to view all scheduled posts in WordPress?

Simply go to Posts » All Posts page in your WordPress admin and then click on the ‘Scheduled’ link above the posts table. It will show all scheduled WordPress posts in the queue.

What to do if WordPress scheduled posts missed schedule?

To run scheduled tasks, WordPress uses a system called WP Cron. If the cron is unable to run due to a misconfiguration on your WordPress hosting server, then your scheduled posts will miss the schedule and won’t be published.

If you notice that your blog is affected by this, then you can install WP Missed Schedule plugin.

To learn more, see our article on how to fix the missed schedule post error in WordPress.

How to unschedule a WordPress post?

You can unschedule a WordPress post by editing the post and changing its status from ‘Scheduled’ to ‘Draft’.

In the new default WordPress editor, you will find the option to switch to draft at the top. In the classic editor, you will find it under the publish meta box.

Unschedule WordPress post

After you have changed a scheduled post to a draft, you can continue working on it, or you can publish it right-away if you want.

Can I also schedule WordPress pages?

Yes, you can schedule a WordPress page just like you would schedule a normal blog post.

Can I schedule changes to a published post or page in WordPress?

By default, you cannot schedule changes to a post or page you have already published. Any changes you make to a published post will become live as soon as you save it.

However, you can use the Tao Schedule Update plugin to make scheduled content updates.

For more details, please see our tutorial on how to schedule content updates in WordPress.

We hope this article helped you learn how to easily schedule your blog posts in WordPress. You may also want to see our guide on how to do keyword research for your WordPress blog to find blog post ideas and get more traffic.

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



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How to Create a Free Business Email Address in 5 Minutes (Step by Step)


Do you want to create a professional business email address for free? A business email address uses your company name instead of the generic gmail or yahoo account. In this article, we will show you how to easily create a free business email address in less than 5 minutes.

How to Create a Free Business Email Address

What is a Business Email Address and Why You Need it?

A professional business email address has your company name instead of the generic gmail or yahoo account, for example: john@stargardening.com

Most beginners use generic free business email accounts without a domain name which isn’t very professional. For example: john.smith2019@gmail.com or jsmithfromstargardening@yahoo.com.

Since anyone can create these generic email accounts, it becomes harder for customers and other businesses to trust such email addresses as legitimate business email accounts.

Below are the top 4 reasons why you need a professional email address for your business:

  • A custom business email address looks more professional.
  • It is also short and easy to remember.
  • A professional business email address helps you earn customer’s trust as a legitimate business.
  • Sending emails with your own business name allows you to promote your brand with each email you send.

The best part is that you can get your own custom business email address for free, which means there is no excuse for not getting it.

If you want your customers and other businesses to take you seriously, then you need to start using a professional business email address, immediately.

What Do You Need to Create a Business Email Address?

You will need to have domain name and a website to create a free business email address.

After that, you will need an email service provider to handle your business emails.

There are a few different solutions that you can use to create a professional business email address.

We will show you two different methods, and you can choose the one that best fits your needs.

The first method is free and fairly easy to setup whereas the second method has a small fee, but it offers a lot more features.

Method 1. Creating a Business Email Address for Free

This method is easy and available to almost everyone who has a website. It allows you to create a business email address for free.

When creating a small business website, you will need to buy a domain and signup for web hosting.

What most beginners don’t know is that many WordPress hosting companies offer free business email features as part of the package.

Normally, a domain name costs 14.99 per year and website hosting starts from $7.99 per month. If you were to use a paid email service, then you can add another $5 per email account.

Luckily, Bluehost, one of the largest WordPress hosting company in the world, has agreed to offer WPBeginner users a free domain name and 60% off discount on hosting.

This means you can start your business website for $2.75 per month (and it comes with a free business email address).

→ Click Here to Claim This Exclusive Bluehost Deal ←

Here is the complete step by step instructions to create your free business email address with Bluehost.

Step 1. Setup your Business Address (Domain Name)

First, you need to visit the Bluehost website and click on the green ‘Get Started Now’ button.

Bluehost get started button

This will bring you to a pricing page where you need to click on the ‘Select’ button below the plan you want to use.

Basic and Plus plans are the most popular among small businesses who are just getting started.

Select plan

After selecting your plan, you will be asked to choose your domain name. You need to enter your business name and click on the ‘Next’ button.

Choose a domain name

Bluehost will now check to see if a domain name matching your business name is available. If it is not, then it will show you some alternative suggestions, or you can look for another domain name.

Here are some quick tips on choosing the perfect domain name for your business email address.

  • Always choose a .com domain name. See our article on the difference between .com vs .net domain names to learn more.
  • Keep your domain name short, easy to remember and pronounce.
  • Do not use numbers or hyphens in your domain name
  • Try using keywords and business location in your domain name to make it unique. For example, if stargardening.com is not available, then look for stargardeninghouston.com

For more tips, take a look at our guide on how to choose the best domain name for your business.

Choosing a good domain name is crucial for your business but don’t spend too much time on that, or you will never get past this step.

After choosing your domain name, you will need to add your account information and finalize the package info to complete the process.

On this screen, you will see optional extras that you can purchase. We don’t recommend choosing them at this time. If you need them, then you can always add them later from your account.

Finalize account information

Lastly, you need to enter your payment information to finish the purchase.

You will receive an email with details on how to login to your web hosting control panel. This is where you manage everything including website management, business email accounts, and other settings.

Step 2. Creating Your Free Business Email Address

In your hosting account dashboard, you need to click on the ‘Email’ section and then click on ‘Add Email Account’ tab.

Add a new email account

Enter a username and password for your email account and then click on the ‘Create Account’ button.

Bluehost will now create the email account, and you will see a success message.

Step 3. Using Your Business Email Account

Now that you have created your free business email account, the next step is to learn how to use it to send and receive emails.

Under the ‘Email’ section on your hosting account, switch to the ‘Email Accounts’ tab. You will see your newly created email address listed there.

Manage your email account

You can click on the ‘Access webmail’ link and Bluehost will take you to a webmail interface. This is a good option if you don’t want to use an email client on your desktop or mobile.

The downside is that you will have to login to your hosting account each time you want to check your email. A better way is to click on connect devices and then click on “Set Up Mail Client” link.

Bluehost will show you the information needed to use your business email address with any mail client or app. You can use this information to setup your business email inOutlook, Gmail, or any Mail app for your mobile phone or desktop.

Note: the process of creating a business email is pretty much the same with other hosting companies that offer cPanel like SiteGround, HostGator, and InMotion Hosting.

Method 2. Creating a Business Email Address using G Suite

Google offers professional business email address with G Suite which includes Gmail, Docs, Drive, and Calendar for businesses.

This method is not free, but it allows you to use Gmail for your professional business email with your own business name.

While there’s a small cost, it comes with many advantages:

  • You will be using Gmail’s familiar interface and apps to send and receive emails.
  • Google has far superior technology which ensures that your emails are delivered right away, and they don’t end up in spam folders.
  • Your website hosting company has shared server resources. This means they don’t want you to send too many emails. Gmail on the other hand will allow you to send up to 2000 emails per day.
    • We use G Suite for our business email address here at WPBeginner.

      That being said, let’s take a look at how to setup a business email address using G Suite.

      Step 1. Sign up for a G Suite Account

      G Suite basic plan costs $5 per user each month. It gives you access to Gmail, Docs, Drive, Calendar, and audio/video conferencing with 30 GB of cloud storage for each user.

      You will also need a domain name, which you can purchase during the signup. If you already have a domain name and a website, then you can use your existing domain with G Suite.

      To get started, simply visit the G Suite website and click on the get started button.

      Get started with G Suite

      On the next screen, you will be asked to enter your business name, the number of employees, and country where you are located. You can choose just yourself for 1 user account, or choose the number of employees.

      Enter business name and users

      Note: You will be charged for each user account, so it is better to start small. You can always add more users when needed.

      Click on the next button to continue.

      On the next step, you will be asked to enter your personal contact information including name and email address.

      Enter contact information

      After that, you will be asked to choose a domain name. If you already have a domain name, then click on ‘Yes I have one I can use’.

      If you don’t have a domain, then click on ‘No, I need one’ to register a domain name.

      Choose a domain name

      If you need to register a new domain name, then you will be charged separately for registering a new domain name. The cost of a domain name will be displayed on the screen and usually starts from $14.99.

      If you are using an existing domain name, then you will need to verify that you own that domain name. We will show you how to do that later in this article.

      After choosing your domain name, you will be asked to create your user account by entering a username and password.

      This username will also be your first business email address, so you need to choose a username that you want to use as your business email address.

      Create account

      After that, you will see a success message and a button to continue with the setup.

      Continue with the set up

      Step 2. Setting up Business Email with G Suite

      In this step, you will complete the G Suite setup by adding users and connecting it to your website or domain name.

      On the setup screen, you will be asked to add more people to your account. If you want to create more accounts for your employees or departments, then you can do that here.

      You can also just click on ‘I have added all user email addresses’ and click on the next button.

      Remember, you can always add more users to your account and create their email addresses later when needed.

      Add users

      If you are using G Suite with an existing domain name, then you will be asked to verify that you own that domain name. To do that, you will now see a HTML code snippet that you need to add to your website.

      Copy meta tag

      There are other ways to verify your ownership as well. You can upload a HTML file to your website using an FTP client or file manager app in your hosting account dashboard.

      If you don’t have a website, then you can use the MX Record method to verify your ownership of the domain name. You will see step by step instructions to do that once you choose this method.

      For the sake of this article, we are assuming that you already have a WordPress website, and we will show you how to add the verification HTML code snippet in WordPress.

      First, go to the admin area of your WordPress website to install and activate the Insert Headers and Footer 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 Footer page and paste the HTML code you copied from G Suite under the ‘Scripts in Header’ section.

      Site verification

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

      Now switch back to your G Suite setup screen and click on the checkbox that says ‘I added the meta tag to my homepage’.

      Verify domain name

      After that, you will be asked to enter MX record entries for your domain name. We will show you how to do that in the next step.

      Step 3. Adding Domain MX Records

      Note: This section is for users with existing domain names and websites. If you registered a new domain name via Google, then you don’t need to read this.

      Domain names tell internet servers where to look for information. Since your domain name is not registered with Google, your emails will reach your domain name, but not to the Google servers.

      You will need to setup the right MX records on your domain name settings, so Google’s servers can send and receive emails for your business.

      To do that, you will need to login to your web hosting account, or your domain registrar account.

      In our article, we will show you how to add MX records in Bluehost, but the basic settings are the same on all hosts and domain registrars. Basically, you will be looking for DNS settings under your domain name.

      Login to your Bluehost hosting dashboard and click on ‘Domains’. On the next page, select your domain name and then click on the ‘Manage’ link next to DNS Zone Editor option.

      Domain name settings

      Bluehost will now open your DNS zone editor. You need to switch back to your G Suite setup screen and check the box that says ‘I have opened the control panel of my domain name’.

      G Suite MX records

      It will now show you the MX records that you need to enter. You will also see a link to the documentation which shows you how to add these records to dozens of hosting and domain services provider.

      Here is how you will add this information to your Bluehost DNS settings:

      Adding MX records in Bluehost

      Click on ‘Add Record’ button to save it. After that, repeat the process to add all five lines as MX records.

      Once you are finished, switch back to G Suite setup and check the box next to ‘I created the new MX records’.

      Created new MX records

      You will be asked to delete any existing MX records still pointing to your website hosting or domain name registrar.

      To do this, you need to switch back to your DNS zone editor and scroll down to the MX records section. You will see the MX records you created earlier along with an older MX record still pointing to your website.

      Delete old MX records

      Click on the delete button next to the old MX record to delete it.

      After that, switch back to the G Suite setup screen and check the box that says ‘I deleted existing MX records’.

      Save MX records

      You will now be asked to save your MX records. For some providers, once you add MX records they are already saved, for others you may need to manually save MX records.

      Once you have saved MX records, check the box that says ‘I have saved MX records’ in G Suite setup.

      Verify domain and setup email

      After that you need to click on ‘Verify domain and setup email’ button to exit the setup wizard.

      Step 4. Managing email in G Suite

      G Suite makes it super easy to manage your email account. You can simply visit the Gmail website to check your email or use the official Gmail apps on your phone to send and receive emails.

      You will need to sign in using your business email address as your username.

      To create more business email addresses simply go to the G Suite Admin console. From here you can add new users, make payments, and adjust your G Suite account settings.

      G Suite admin control panel

      Business Email Address FAQs

      Following are some of the most commonly asked questions by our users regarding business email addresses and how to use them.

      1. Can I create more custom email addresses for my business for free?

      If you are using Bluehost, then yes you can go ahead and create more email accounts for free (You get 5 email accounts with basic and unlimited accounts with plus and choice plus plans).

      If you are using G Suite, then you can create email aliases which are separate addresses for the same email account. However, if you want to add a different email account or a new employee, then you will be charged based on your plan.

      2. Can I create free business email without domain?

      No, you cannot create a free business email account without a domain. You can create a free email account with Gmail or Hotmail, but it will not use your business name, so it will not be considered a business email address by customers and other businesses.

      3. Can I use desktop and mobile email apps with my custom branded email address?

      Yes, you can use your business email address with any desktop or mobile email apps. Most of these apps can automatically figure out mail settings. You can also get these settings from Bluehost or G Suite documentation.

      4. Can I switch my free business email account to another provider if needed?

      Yes, you can switch to any other email service, website hosting, or domain registrar and take your business email address with you.

      5. What are some business email address examples that I should use?

      It depends on your business needs. For example:

    • You can create a custom branded email for yourself or individual employees like: john@stargardening.com
    • You can set up a business email account for departments like sales, support, HR, etc. sales@stargardening.com
    • 6. Can I create a free business email address without making a website?

      Yes, you can. However, you’ll still need to pay for website hosting because you get the email service and domain name for free with your hosting package.

      Once you have signed up, you can choose a domain and then just create your email address.

      That’s all, we hope this article helped you learn how to create a free business email address or create a professional business address with G Suite. You may also want to see our guide on how to fix WordPress not sending emails issue.

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

      The post How to Create a Free Business Email Address in 5 Minutes (Step by Step) appeared first on WPBeginner.



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