Tag - wordpress

14 Best WordPress SEO Plugins and Tools That You Should Use


Often we’re asked about what are the best WordPress SEO plugins and tools that we recommend.

That’s because search engines are a major source of traffic for most websites on the internet. Optimizing your website for search engines can help you rank higher in search results and significantly grow your business.

In this article, we will share the best WordPress SEO plugins and tools that you should use. Some of these tools offer similar functionalities, so we will also highlight which ones are the best for specific use-cases.

Best WordPress SEO plugins and tools

Things You Must Know About WordPress SEO Plugins & Tools

When reading SEO tips or searching for “best free WordPress SEO plugins”, you will come across articles that feature several dozen tools.

This can be quite overwhelming for beginners and non-techy users.

The truth is that you don’t need dozens of top SEO tools to get higher search rankings.

While most blog posts (including ours) will share the top most popular SEO plugins, it is extremely important for you to understand the use-cases of each tool.

For example, you never want to use more than one WordPress SEO plugin on your website. We will mention Yoast, All in One SEO, Rank Math, and SEOPress. You need to pick only one to avoid plugin conflict.

We’ll mention SEMRush, Ahrefs, and few other powerful tools, but you don’t need them all when you’re first starting out since they have similar feature set. We will share what tools we use in our business, and which features are the best among each tool.

With that said, let’s take a look at our expert pick of the best WordPress SEO plugins and tools.

1. Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO is the best WordPress SEO plugin on the market. It offers a complete website optimization tool that helps you improve your website.

It lets you easily add SEO titles and descriptions to all posts and pages on your website. You can also use it to add Open Graph metadata and social media images to your articles.

Yoast SEO automatically generates an XML sitemap for all your website content which makes it easier for search engines to crawl your website. It also helps you easily import your SEO data if you have been using another other SEO plugin.

For more details, see our complete guide on how to install and setup Yoast SEO plugin in WordPress.

We use Yoast SEO plugin on WPBeginner to help optimize our on-page SEO meta titles and descriptions, manage SEO redirects, control index settings, generate sitemap, etc.

However we don’t use all of Yoast SEO features such as content analysis because we feel it falls short when compared to a more comprehensive writing assistant solution like SEMRush.

This brings us to the next SEO tool in the list.

2. SEMRush

SEMRush

SEMRush is the best overall SEO tool on the market. Used by professional SEO experts, marketers, bloggers, and businesses of all sizes, it provides a comprehensive set of tools to grow your traffic.

You can use it to find organic keywords and search terms that you can easily rank for. It also allows you to do competitive research and see which keywords your competitors rank for, and how you can beat them.

SEMRush SEO Writing Assistant tool helps you improve your website content to beat the top 10 results for your focus keyword. It integrates with WordPress, and this will help you write more SEO friendly content.

To learn more, see our complete guide on how to do keyword research for your website.

3. Google Search Console

Google Search Console

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

It alerts you when Google is unable to crawl and index pages on your website. You also get helpful tips on how to fix those crawl errors.

Most importantly, it shows which keywords your website is ranking for, anchor texts, average position, impressions, and more. You can use this data to find keywords where you can easily rank higher by simply optimizing your content. You can also use this keyword data to come up with new blog post ideas.

For more details, see our comprehensive Google Search Console guide for beginners.

Yoast SEO comes with an easy integration that lets you setup Search Console without writing any code.

MonsterInsights, another tool we’ll mention later, helps you bring the Search Console reports right inside your WordPress dashboard for easy access.

4. Ahrefs

Ahrefs

Ahrefs is an all-in-one SEO tool for marketers, bloggers, and businesses. It is a popular alternative to SEMRush and offers a lot of similar tools and features.

It allows you to do keyword research, competition analysis, backlink research, monitor keyword rankings, and more.

It also offers a detailed content analysis tool that helps you improve content while targeting specific keywords.

While there’s a huge feature overlap, what Ahrefs does really well is backlink analysis. We can use it to see which sites are linking to multiple competitors, but not us. This helps us get more backlinks and build more partnerships.

They also help us identify which content multiple of our competitors are ranking for that we aren’t, so we can create content on those subjects to get more exposure.

Last but not least, Ahrefs helps us better identify duplicate content and keyword cannibalization which helps us merge and upgrade the right content to boost our rankings.

For the reasons above, we pay for both SEMRush and Ahrefs because they’re both good for specific use-cases.

5. Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner

No one on the planet has more insights into what people are searching for than the search giant Google.

Did you know that you can get your own keyword ideas from Google itself by using the Google Keyword Planner tool.

This free tool is offered to Google’s advertisers for free and anyone can use it. Its main purpose is to show advertisers the keywords they can bid on for their advertising campaigns.

It also helps advertisers choose the right keywords by showing them an estimate of search volume, number of results, and difficulty level.

As a content marketer or blogger, you can use this data to find keywords with high search volume, high advertiser interest, and more importantly keywords where you can easily outrank all other sites.

Bonus: See these 103 Blog Post Ideas that your Readers will Love (Cheat Sheet).

6. All in One SEO Pack

All in One SEO Pack

All in One SEO Pack is a popular WordPress SEO plugin offering a comprehensive set of tools to improve your website. It allows you to easily add SEO title and meta tags, open graph meta tags, XML sitemaps, image sitemaps, and more.

It works out of box with WooCommerce to optimize your online store for SEO. It comes with easy setup and allows you to control access to different settings using a feature manager.

You may also want to see our complete beginner’s guide to All in One SEO Pack and our comparison of the Yoast SEO vs All in One SEO Pack.

All in One SEO Pack Pro plugin gives you access to more addons, and it is a more affordable solution than Yoast SEO which is why it’s the second most popular WordPress SEO plugin in the market.

Note: All in One SEO Pack is a Yoast SEO alternative. Remember, you only need one WordPress SEO plugin on your site.

7. SEOPress

SEOPress

SEOPress is another simple yet powerful WordPress SEO plugin. It includes all the features you would expect from a SEO plugin like meta title, description, open graph support, image and content XML sitemaps, redirects, and more.

It comes with easier setup for beginners and advanced controls for more experienced users. It is comparable to all top WordPress SEO plugins on the market in terms of features and ease of use.

A big reason some users choose SEOPress over Yoast SEO is because the premium version is significantly cheaper and comes with a lot of the similar features.

Note: SEOPress is a Yoast SEO alternative. Remember, you only need one WordPress SEO plugin on your site.

8. Rank Math

Rank Math

Rank Math is a fast growing user-friendly WordPress SEO plugin that allows you to optimize your website for search engines and social media. It comes with a setup wizard and allows you to import data from other SEO plugins during the setup.

It allows you to easily add meta title, description, and Open Graph metadata to your blog posts. The plugin also allows you to generate an XML sitemap, connect Google Search Console, and control access to plugin features based on user roles.

Note: Rank Math is a Yoast SEO alternative. Remember, you only need one WordPress SEO plugin on your site.

9. All in One Schema Rich Snippets

All In One Schema Rich Snippets

Rich Snippets allow you to make your website stand out in search results by showing star ratings below a review, prices below a product, image or video next to the description, and so on.

Search Engines use data available in Schema format to get this information. All in One Schema Rich Snippets helps you optimize your website by adding that Schema metadata to your website.

It supports reviews, events, people, products, recipes, software apps, videos, and articles as Schema content types. It works nicely alongside your existing WordPress SEO plugin.

10. KeywordTool.io

Keyword Tool

Keyword Tool is one of the best free keyword research tools available right now. It allows you to simply generate keyword ideas by typing in a keyword. These keyword suggestions are gathered from Google’s autosuggest feature. It also shows you keyword suggestions from Bing, YouTube, Amazon, and more.

These keyword suggestions are a treasure of information. You can also get search volume, cost per click, and other data for each keyword by upgrading to their paid plan.

11. Broken Link Checker

Broken Link Checker

Broken links can affect your site’s SEO and create a bad experience for your users. If you have been running a blog for some time, then you should check your site from time to time for broken links and fix them.

Broken Link Checker is a free WordPress plugin that allows you to find broken links on your WordPress site. You can then fix those links without even editing your posts. See our tutorial on how to fix broken links in WordPress with Broken Link Checker.

It is a highly useful plugin, and it’s totally free. The only downside is that it can become resource-intensive and may slow down your WordPress hosting server. Some hosting providers like WP Engine already block this plugin.

Because this plugin can slow down your site if you have a lot of content, we use Ahrefs tool for broken link detection because it helps us make sure our website is always fast.

Bonus: Redirection is a free plugin that helps you redirect broken links to an appropriate page on your website.

12. SEOquake

SEOquake

SEOquake is a useful SEO tool for website owners. It is available as a browser addon for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, and Safari web browsers.

It provides SEO related information for any website. This data includes page health, age, last updated, Alexa rank, and many other parameters. It is one of the most downloaded browser addons by SEO professionals.

Apart from that, the SEOquake toolbar can show you all the same data search results when you type in a keyword. This information can be extremely useful if you are gauging competition for different keywords. You can even download search results in CSV format and prepare your own excel sheets of search data.

Bonus Plugins for WordPress Website Owners

These tools give you additional advantage when optimizing your website for SEO. They do not advertise themselves as SEO tools but they are essential for every website and play a significant role in your website’s search performance.

13. WP Rocket

WP-Rocket

Site speed is a major factor in search rankings. That’s why you need to monitor your website speed & performance to make sure it’s not affecting your SEO.

The easiest way to boost your website speed is by enabling caching. WP Rocket is the best WordPress caching plugin on the market, which allows you to set up caching without diving into any technical stuff.

Alternative: WP Super Cache

14. MonsterInsights

MonsterInsights

Many beginners rely on their best guess to make their marketing decisions. You don’t need to do that when you can easily get the insights you need to improve your website’s SEO strategy.

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

It tells you where your users are coming from, your top content, what users do on your website, and more. It also allows you to track your WooCommerce SEO by seeing which products are popular and where you are losing customers.

Bonus tip: See what other marketing data you must track on your website to grow your business.

We hope this article helped you find the best WordPress SEO plugins and tools for your website. You may also want to see our proven tips to easily increase your website 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 Change Your WordPress Site URLs (Step by Step)


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

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

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

Easily change your WordPress site URLs

Why Change WordPress Site URLs?

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

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

WordPress Address vs Site Address

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ready? let’s get started.

Method 1. Change WordPress Site URLs from Admin Area

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

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

Change WordPress site URLs in the admin area

WordPress Address and Site Address are usually the same address.

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

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

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

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

Edit WordPress functions file

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

phpMyAdmin

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

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

Edit options table

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

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

Edit siteurl and home values

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

Edit option_value

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

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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

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

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

WordPress Address URL Greyed Out

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

How to recover WordPress after url address change in settings?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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How to Update WordPress Theme without Losing Customization


One of the best things about WordPress is the easy customization options that you get with WordPress themes and plugins.

You can also take these customizations to the next level by adding your own code snippets and CSS styles to your WordPress theme.

The problem arises when an update becomes available for your theme. If you are not careful, then there is a high chance that you’ll lose some of those changes you made to your theme.

In this article, we will show you how to easily update a WordPress theme without losing customization. We will also cover how to properly customize your themes, so you are not affected when a new theme update is released.

Properly updating WordPress theme without losing customizations

How Theme Updates Work in WordPress?

WordPress comes with a powerful system to install updates for not just WordPress itself but for plugins and themes as well.

Your WordPress website regularly checks for updates and display them under Dashboard » Updates page.

WordPress updates

When a theme update becomes available, you’ll also see a notification on the Appearance » Themes page.

Theme updates

Updates are really important for the security and performance of your WordPress website. Aside from security and bug fixes, theme developers can also introduce new features with these updates.

You can simply click on the update button to install the new version.

WordPress will then download the theme package, unzip it, and replace the old files with the newer version.

This will overwrite all old theme files installed on your website. If you manually added custom code to your WordPress theme files, then you’ll lose those changes.

That being said, let’s take a look at which theme changes are safe and which customizations will be erased.

What Type of Theme Customizations Can You Lose During an Update?

There are multiple ways you can customize a WordPress theme. Some of these theme customizations are safe because your changes are stored in the WordPress database itself.

This includes all changes made through the built-in WordPress theme customizer which you can access by visiting Appearance » Customize page.

WordPress theme customizer

The theme customizer allows you to modify your WordPress theme and store all changes in the WordPress database. You can change the header image, colors, layout, custom CSS, and more.

Your WordPress widgets and navigation menus are also not affected by the theme updates.

Popular WordPress themes like Astra and Ocean WP now come with companion plugins. These plugins are used to add extra features to your theme. Any theme changes made using these companion plugins are also not affected by the theme update.

If you customize your WordPress layout using a WordPress page builder like Divi, Beaver Builder, Elementor, etc, then those changes will also not be impacted.

Any other features that you have added to your website using a plugin are also safe. For example, your WordPress contact forms, Google Analytics, email newsletter popups, and more.

Customizations that you’ll lose during the update

If you have added any code to your theme’s functions.php file, then it will disappear. Any CSS changes that you have added directly to your theme’s stylesheet (style.css) file will also be wiped off.

Now that we know which changes will be erased, let’s talk about how to preserve and restore them after the theme update.

Step 1. Preparing for The Theme Update

First thing you need to do is connect to your WordPress hosting account using an FTP client.

Once connected, go to the /wp-content/themes/ folder and download your theme folder to your computer.

Download your WordPress theme

This folder will be the backup of your theme, and we will use it later to copy and paste customizations after updating the theme.

Step 2. Download The Updated Theme and Move Customizations

Now we want to transfer customizations we have made to the old theme files to the updated version.

Simply visit your theme’s website and download the latest version to your computer. Locate the theme’s zip file and extract it.

You should now have both, the new version and your old customized theme on your computer.

If you remember the changes you made to your theme, then simply copy and paste the code snippets from the old theme to the new version.

On the other hand, if you do not remember the changes you made, then you will have to find them first. The easiest way to do this is by comparing your theme files.

You’ll need to use a file comparison software like WinMerge (kaleidoscope for Mac, Meld for Linux).

Open both theme folders in file comparison software. It will show files side by side allowing you to quickly compares files to locate the customizations you have added to the old theme.

Compare theme changes

You can then copy and paste the code from the old theme file to the same file in the new theme.

Step 3. Upload the New Theme Folder

After copying your changes to the new theme, you are now ready to upload the updated version to your website.

Simply connect to your website using the FTP client and go to the /wp-content/themes/ folder. Select the new theme folder and update it to your website.

Upload updated theme

Your FTP client will warn you that the files with the same name already exist. You need to choose <strongOverwrite to make sure that your old theme files are replaced by new files.

Overwrite

That’s all. You have successfully updated your WordPress theme. Visit your website to make sure that everything is working as expected.

How to Avoid Losing Changes During Theme Update

If you want to add code snippets or custom styles to your WordPress theme, then there are some best practices that you should follow.

The best solution is to create a child theme and add your custom code to child theme’s files.

However, many WordPress beginners may not feel comfortable creating a child theme. Luckily, there are easier solutions available.

For all your custom code changes, you can use the code snippets plugin.

It allows you to safely add custom code snippets without breaking your website, and your changes will not be affected by theme updates. You can even change your WordPress theme without losing those changes.

For CSS code, you can save it all under the theme customizer’s ‘Additional CSS’ tab.

Additional CSS

For more information, see our guide on how to add custom CSS in WordPress.

Alternatively, you can also use the powerful CSS Hero plugin to easily customize the styles without even writing any CSS code.

We hope this article helped you update your WordPress theme without losing customization. If you come across any issues, then check out our guide on most common WordPress errors and how to fix them.

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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21 Plugins to Efficiently Manage WordPress Multi-Author Blogs


Running a multi-author WordPress website comes with a different set of challenges compared to a a single author WordPress blog.

You’ll need to plan content, create an editorial workflow, monitor user activity, and make sure that your website is running at peak performance.

This sounds like a lot of work, but luckily there are some really helpful plugins that can make it all go smoothly.

In this article, we will show you the best plugins to efficiently manage multi-author WordPress blogs. These plugins will make your job easier and help authors on your website to be more productive.

The best plugins to manage multi-author WordPress blogs more efficiently

1. PublishPress

PublishPress

PublishPress is the best publishing tool kit for any type of content-rich websites and a must-have plugin for multi-author WordPress blogs

It allows you to create and manage an editorial calendar inside WordPress, followup progress on drafts and article ideas, manage authors, set up custom notifications, and more.

The plugin comes with companion addons which give you powerful set of tools. These addons include Capability Manager Enhanced (to customize user permissions), Revisions (to manage revisions in WordPress), and Press Permit which lets you control viewing permissions on WordPress.

This incredibly powerful plugin helps you every step of the way, from content planning to publishing, while ensuring that nothing slips through the cracks. For more details, see our guide on how to improve your editorial workflow in WordPress.

Bonus: See our guide on how to do keyword research to find blog post ideas.

2. WPForms

WPForms
WPForms is the best WordPress contact form plugin on the market. It allows you to easily build forms using a simple drag and drop form builder.

Their Pro plan also comes with user registration, custom login form, and post-submission addons. This allows you to accept posts on your website without allowing anyone accesses to your WordPress admin area,

For details, see our step by step guide on how to allow users to submit posts to your WordPress website.

3. MemberPress

MemberPress

If you want to build a website where only paid members can submit posts, then you’ll love MemberPress. It is the best WordPress membership plugin and allows you to easily sell subscriptions and memberships plans.

It allows you to easily restrict access to any content based on the user’s membership level. You can also use it with WPForms to create front-end post submission pages.

For detailed instructions, see our guide on how to easily create a membership website in WordPress.

4. TranslatePress

TranslatePress

If you run a multilingual WordPress website, then TranslatePress helps you easily manage translations on your website.

It allows you and other authors on your website to easily translate content on your website with a live preview. You can also use it to translate WordPress themes and plugins as well.

For step by step details, see our tutorial on how to easily translate your WordPress website

Alternatives: WPML, Polylang

5. Sucuri

Sucuri

Sucuri is the best WordPress security plugin to protect your website against unauthorized access, brute force attacks, and hacking.

As a multi-author WordPress site, more people have access to the admin area of your WordPress website. While making sure that your authors can write posts, you would also want to make sure that your admin area is safe and secure.

Sucuri performs regular security checkups and acts as a website firewall. This allows malicious attacks to be blocked even before they reach your website.

6. Pre-Publish Checklist

Pre-Publish Checklist

As the administrator of a multi-author WordPress website, you would want to ensure that all authors follow the editorial process you have set up for your website.

Pre-Publish Checklist helps you add a checklist to the post editor, which allows authors to check everything on the list before publishing or submitting it for review.

7. Simple Local Avatars

Simple Local Avatars

WordPress uses Gravatar to display user avatars in comments and in user profiles. However, some of your users may not have gravatar setup for their email address, or they may simply want to use some other picture on their author profile.

Simple Local Avatars plugin allows users on your WordPress site to upload their own author photo by editing their profile.

8. MonsterInsights

MonsterInsights

MonsterInsights is the best Google Analytics plugin for WordPress. It allows you to easily install Google Analytics in WordPress.

It also shows where your users are coming from, what content is doing well, what users do when viewing your website, and more. This data provides you insights to make an effective content strategy for your website.

Bonus: See the top marketing metrics you must track on all WordPress sites.

9. WP Revisions Control

WP Revisions Control

WordPress automatically saves drafts as revisions. This helps you easily undo changes and revert back to an earlier draft of your article. However, if you run a large multi-author WordPress site then these revisions add up to your WordPress database size.

WP Revisions Control helps you set a number of revisions that WordPress should keep. After that number, WordPress will automatically delete the oldest revision. You can also delete all revisions for a specific post if you want.

To learn more, see our beginner’s guide to WordPress post revisions with step by step instructions on how to use revisions on your blog.

10. Author Avatars List

Author Avatars List

An easy way to attract more authors to write for your website is by showcasing authors prominently on your website. One way to do this is by displaying a list of blog authors.

Author Avatars List plugin allows you to easily add a blog authors list anywhere on your site. It comes with a sidebar widget and you can also use the shortcode to easily add it to a post or page.

11. Adminimize

Adminimize

Adminimize gives admins full control over what users can or cannot see inside the WordPress admin area. Admins of a multi-author blog can use it to disable user access to unnecessary sections.

This enables them to provide a lean and distraction-free writing space for the authors. For more details, see our tutorial on how to hide unnecessary items from WordPress admin.

12. User Notes

User Notes

User notes allow you to leave notes on user profiles. These notes can only be seen by admins and can be very helpful and may serve as a reminder tool.

For example, if an author is not following the deadlines you can add a note to remind yourself that this particular author is a bit careless with the deadlines.

13. Simple Author Box

Simple Author Box

By default, most modern WordPress themes can display an author’s profile pic along with their bio below the article. However, some are not very good at it or you way want to get a bit more control over author bio box.

Simple Author Box helps you easily add an author bio box below articles. You can customize it to match your theme colors, configure what you want to show, and add social sharing buttons with it.

14. Edit Author Slug

Edit Author Slug

WordPress comes with SEO friendly URL structure which allows you to choose URL slugs for your posts and pages. However, there is no option to do so for an author page.

Edit Author Slug plugin allows you to do that. You can simply edit a user profile and change the author URL slug. It also allows you to change the author base.

For more information, see our detailed tutorial on how to change author URL slug and base in WordPress.

15. User Submitted Posts

User Submitted Posts

User Submitted Posts plugin does just what it says, it allows users to submit posts to your website without login or creating an account. This allows you to manage user-submitted content without managing user accounts or giving users access to admin area.

For details, see our guide on how to allow users to submit posts to your WordPress site.

16. Theme My Login

Theme My Login

Theme My Login allows you to create custom WordPress login page for your website. You can also create a front-end registration and profile editing page.

Basically, users will be able to login without having access to the admin area of your website. Theme My Login can be used with other plugins to create a front-end editing experience for your authors.

17. Two Factor

Two-Factor

Two Factor plugin allows you to easily add Two Factor authentication to your website. This adds an extra step to your WordPress login screen and making it difficult for hackers to gain access to your website.

You can generate a one-time password using an app like LastPass Authenticator to finish the login process. For details, see our guide on how to add two-factor authentication in WordPress.

18. WP Security Audit Log

WP Security Audit Log

WP Security Audit Log helps you keep a log of all things happening on your website. This allows you to see when each user logged in, what they did, and all other website activties.

This helps you find an imposter, catch mistakes, block hacking attempts, and more. For details, see our guide on how to how to monitor user activity on your WordPress site.

19. WP Email Users

WP Email Users

WP Email Users plugin allows you to quickly send an email to all authors and registered users on your website. This comes in handy if you want to communicate important announcements, notifications, and site related updates.

You’ll need WP Mail SMTP plugin and a proper SMTP service provider to ensure that your emails reach user’s inbox.

20. Emergency Password Reset

Emergency Password Reset

If you are worried that the security of your WordPress site is compromised, then you need to immediately change all WordPress passwords. Now if you run a multi-author WordPress website, then you need to make sure that all user passwords are changed as well.

Emergency Password Reset plugin allows you to reset all user passwords in WordPress with a single click. It also sends an email to all your users with a link to set new passwords.

For details, see our guide on how to reset passwords for all users in WordPress.

21. User Blocker

User Blocker

User Blocker plugin allows you to easily block an author on your WordPress website without changing their author information or deleting their account.

This helps you make sure that content on your website is not affected while making sure that unwanted users can no longer access the WordPress admin area.

For more information, see our step by step guide on how to block a WordPress user without deleting their account.

That’s all for now.

We hope this article helped you find useful plugins to manage your multi-author WordPress blogs. You may also want to see our proven tips to quickly increase your blog traffic and our ultimate guide on how to speed up your WordPress site.

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



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How to “Easily” Add Anchor Links in WordPress (Step by Step)


We occasionally use anchor links in our longer WordPress posts to help users quickly jump to the section they want to read.

Anchor links are often used in the table of content sections because they help users move up and down a lengthier article without reloading the page. It can also help with SEO as Google may show them below your search listings for easy navigation (more on this later).

In this step by step guide, we will explain what are anchor links and show you how to easily add anchor links in WordPress.

Adding anchor links in WordPress

Ready? Let’s start with a live example of anchor links.

Below is a list of all the topics we will cover in this guide. Go ahead and click on any of these links, and you’ll be taken to that specific section.

An anchor link is a type of link on the page that brings you to a specific place on that same page. It allows users to jump to the section they’re most interested in.

Take a look at the animated screenshot below:

Anchor link preview

As you can see, clicking on the anchor link takes the user to the specific section on the same page.

Anchor links are commonly used in lengthier articles as the table of content which allows users to quickly jump to the sections they want to read.

Why and when you should use anchor links?

An average user spends less than a few seconds before deciding if they want to stay or leave your website. You have just those few seconds to convince users to stay.

The best way to do that is to help them quickly see the information they’re looking for.

Anchor links make this easier by allowing users to skip the rest of the content and jump directly to the part that interests them. This improves user experience and helps you win new customers / readers.

Anchor links are also great for WordPress SEO. Google can display an anchor link in the search results as a “jump to link”.

Jump to link in search results

Sometimes Google can also display several links from that page as jump to links, and this is proven to increase the click-through rate in search results. In other words, you get more traffic to your website.

Multiple jump to links below a search result

Having said that, let’s take a look at how to easily add anchor links in WordPress.

If you just want to add a few anchor links in your article, then you can easily do so manually.

Basically you need to add two things for an anchor text to work as intended.

  1. Create an anchor link with a # sign before the anchor text.
  2. Add the id attribute to the text where you want the user to be taken.

Let’s start with the anchor link part.

Step 1. Creating an anchor link

First you need to select the text that you want to link and then click on the insert link button in the WordPress Gutenberg editor.

Add a link in WordPress

This will bring up the insert link popup where you usually add the URL or look for a post or page to link.

However, for an anchor link, you’ll simply use # as prefix and enter the keywords for the section you want the user to jump to.

Creating anchor link

After that click on the enter button to create the link.

Some helpful tips on choosing what text to use as your anchor # link:

  • Use the keywords related to the section you are linking to.
  • Don’t make your anchor link unnecessarily long or complex.
  • Use hyphens to separate words and make them more readable.
  • You can use capitalization in anchor text to make it more readable. For example: #Best-Coffee-Shops-Manhattan.

Once you add the link, you will be able to see the link you have created in the editor. However, clicking on the link doesn’t do anything.

That’s because the browsers cannot find the anchor link as an ID.

Let’s fix that by pointing browsers to the area, section, or text that you want to show when users click on the anchor link.

Step 2. Add the ID attribute to the linked section

In the content editor, scroll down to the section that you want the user to navigate to when they click on the anchor link. Usually, it is a heading for a new section.

Next, click to select the block and then in the block settings click on the Advanced tab to expand it. You can simply click on the ‘Advanced’ tab under the heading block settings.

HTML Anchor

After that, you need to add the same text that you added as the anchor link under the ‘HTML Anchor’ field. Make sure that you add the text without the # prefix.

You can now save your post and see your anchor link in action by clicking on the preview tab.

What if the section you want to show is not a heading but just a regular paragraph or any other block?

In that case, you need to click on the three-dot menu on the block settings and select ‘Edit as HTML’.

Edit as HTML

This will allow you to edit the HTML code for that particular block. You need to select find the HTML tag for the element you want to point to. For example, <p> if it is a pagraph, or <table> if it is a table block, and so on.

Now, you need to add your anchor as the ID attribute to that tag, like the following code:


<p id="best-coffee-shops-manhattan">

You will now see a notice that this block contains unexpected or invalid content. You need to click on the convert to HTML to preserve the changes you made.

Convert to HTML

How to Manually Add Anchor Link in Classic Editor

If you are still using the older classic editor for WordPress, then here is how you can add the anchor link.

Step 1. Create the anchor link

First, select the text that you want to change into the anchor link and then click on the ‘Insert Link’ button.

Adding an anchor link in Classic Editor

After that, you need to add your anchor link with a # sign prefix followed by the slug you want to use for the link.

Step 2. Add the ID attribute to the linked section

The next step is to point the browsers to the section you want to show when users click on your anchor link.

For that, you’ll need to switch to the ‘Text’ mode in the classic editor. After that scroll down to the section that you want to show.

Adding anchor ID in Classic Editor

Now locate the HTML tag you want to target. For example, <h2>, <h3>, <p>, and so on.

You need to add the ID attribute to it with your anchor link’s slug without the # prefix, like this:


<h2 id="best-coffee-shops-manhattan">

You can now save your changes and click on the preview button to see your anchor link in action.

How to Manually Add Anchor Links in HTML

If you are used to writing in the Text mode of the old Classic Editor in WordPress, then here is how you would manually create an anchor link in HTML.

First, you need to create the anchor link with a # prefix using the usual <a href=""> tag, like this:


<a href="#best-coffee-shops-manhattan">Best Coffee Shops in Manhattan</a>

Next, you need to scroll down to the section that you want to show when users click on the link.

Usually, this section is a heading (h2, h3, h4, etc.), but it could be any other HTML element or even a simple paragraph <p> tag.

You need to add the ID attribute to the HTML tag, and then add the anchor link slug without the # prefix.


<h2 id="best-coffee-shops-manhattan">Best Coffee Shops in Manhattan</h4>

You can now save your changes and preview your website to test the anchor link.

This method is suitable for users who regularly publish long-form articles and need to create table of contents with anchor links.

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

This plugin allows you to automatically generate a table of contents with anchor links. It uses headings to guess the content sections, and you can customize it fully to meet your needs.

Upon activation, simply go to Settings » Table of Contents page to configure plugin settings.

Easy Table of Contents plugin settings

First, you need to enable it for the post types where you want to add table of contents. By default, the plugin is enabled for pages, but you can also enable it for your posts as well.

You can also enable the auto-insert option. This allows the plugin to automatically generate the table of contents for all articles, including the older articles that match the criteria.

If you only want to automatically generate table of contents for specific articles, then you can leave this option unchecked.

Next, scroll down a little to select where you want to display the table of contents and when you want it to be triggered.

Select where and when to display table of contents

You can review other advanced settings on the page and change them as needed.

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

If you enabled the auto-insert option, then you can now view an existing article with the specified number of headings.

You’ll notice that the plugin will automatically display a table of contents before the first heading in the article.

If you wanted to manually generate table of contents for specific articles, then you need to edit the article where you want to display a table of contents with anchor links.

On the post edit screen, scroll down to the ‘Table of Contents’ tab below the editor.

Manually add table of contents with anchor links

From here, you can check the ‘Insert table of contents’ option and select the headings you want to include as anchor links.

You can now save your changes and preview your article. The plugin will automatically display a list of anchor links as your table of contents.

Table of contents preview

For more detailed instructions, see our article on how to add table of contents in WordPress.

We hope this article helped you learn how to easily add anchor links in WordPress. You may also want to see our tips on how to properly optimize your blog posts for SEO and our pick of the best WordPress page builder plugins.

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



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25 Most Useful WordPress Widgets for Your Site


Are you looking for useful WordPress widgets for your website?

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

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

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

Most useful WordPress widgets for your website

1. WP Call Button

WP Call Button

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

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

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

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

2. WPForms

WPForms

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

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

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

3. RafflePress

RafflePress

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

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

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

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

4. Recent Posts Widget with Thumbnails

Recent Posts Widget With Thumbnails

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

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

5. Astra Widgets

Astra Widgets

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

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

6. Simple Social Icons

Simple Social Icons

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

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

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

7. Google Maps Widget

Google Maps Widget

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

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

8. Social Count Plus

Social Count Plus

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

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

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

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

9. Compact Archives

Compact Archives

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

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

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

10. OptinMonster

OptinMonster

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

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

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

11. AdSanity

AdSanity

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

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

12. Testimonials Rotator

Testimonial Rotator

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

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

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

13. Feature a Page Widget

Feature a Page Widget

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

14. Easy Table of Contents

Easy Table of Contents

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

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

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

15. Widget Context

Widget Context

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

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

16. Q2W3 Fixed Widget for WordPress

Q2W3 Fixed Widget for WordPress

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

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

17. WordPress Popular Posts

WordPress Popular Posts

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

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

18. WP-PostRatings

WP-PostRatings

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

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

19. Theme My Login

Theme My Login

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

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

20. Advanced AJAX Product Filters

Advanced AJAX Product Filters

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

21. Google Language Translator

Google Language Translator

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

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

22. Widget Importer & Exporter

Widget Importer & Exporter

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

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

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

23. The Events Calendar

The Events Calendar

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

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

24. Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP)

Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP)

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

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

25. Posts in Sidebar

Posts in Sidebar

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

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

We hope this article helped you find some useful WordPress widgets for your website. You may also want to see our guide on the best WordPress plugins and the best Gutenberg block plugins for your website.

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

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How Many WordPress Plugins Should You Install? What’s too many?


We are often asked by readers about how many WordPress plugins should they install on their site? The real question everyone wants to know is how many plugins are too many?

Since there are a lot of misconceptions about WordPress plugins, and how they can impact website speed, performance, and security, we want to explain this topic in details for our non-techy users.

In this article, we will explain how many WordPress plugins should install on your site. We will also talk about how plugins can and cannot affect your website. Our goal is to help you learn how to run your website with the perfect combination of WordPress plugins.

How many WordPress plugins can you install on your website?

About WordPress Plugins and How They Work

Before we dig deeper, let’s talk a little bit about WordPress plugins and how they work.

WordPress plugins are like apps for your website. They help you add new features and website functionality such as making an online store, adding contact forms, and more.

Like WordPress itself, plugins are also written in the PHP programming language. PHP code runs on your website’s hosting server and utilizes its resources.

This is why you must choose a good WordPress hosting company that gives you easy tools to manage those resources and run your website efficiently.

To learn more, see our detailed guide about how WordPress plugins work. If you want to dig even deeper, then take a look at how WordPress actually works behind the scenes (Infographic).

Ever since WordPress 1.2 (when support for WordPress plugins was added), plugins have been a blessing for users. WordPress without plugins is like a toy store with no toys. That’s no fun.

Why are Plugins Essential for WordPress Websites

Why you need plugins

Even though the WordPress core provides a strong publishing framework, it is the plugins that are widely responsible for making WordPress the most popular website builder in the world.

The number of total WordPress plugins available has grown over the years. At the time of writing this article, there are more than 54,000 free WordPress plugins available in the official plugins directory.

Apart from these free plugins, there are also thousands of premium WordPress plugins sold by third-party companies and developers.

Plugins can help you improve SEO, increase security, manage users, and more. It would be quite difficult to grow your business without using WordPress plugins on your website.

How Did WordPress Plugins Get a Bad Reputation

How plugins got bad rep

The purpose of plugins is to extend WordPress to do almost anything you can imagine. However, now we see a sense of fear or restraint towards plugins from many beginner users.

People get worried about performance, security, reliability, etc. This is mainly because designers, developers, and web hosting support technicians get really frustrated when they are troubleshooting a client’s websites.

In their frustration, they make comments like ‘have fewer plugins‘, or ‘it is the plugins that are slowing down your site‘.

A developer blaming plugins for slow site

These statements have resonated throughout social media, in-person meetups, and conferences. The biggest issue with those statements is their ambiguity.

What is less? How many WordPress plugins are too many?

We believe the problem is not the quantity of plugins, but rather the quality.

You can have dozens of good WordPress plugins running on your website without any issues, but an addition of a single poorly coded plugin can slow down your website.

When this happens and you ask for troubleshooting help, your hosting company support technician or another developer will blame the quantity of plugins.

This makes sense because troubleshooting a website with 5 plugins is much easier than troubleshooting a website with 30. Quantity of plugins make their job harder.

It’s extremely important to take any such advice resulting from frustration with a bit of caution.

You should politely ask them to identify which specific plugin is causing the issue because simply blaming the quantity is a result of laziness.

To put this in perspective, our WPBeginner website has 62 active plugins right now, and it loads extremely fast.

If we were to add one bad plugin that slows down the website, then we should only have to disable that one bad plugin (not all 62).

With that said, let’s take a look at how plugins can affect different aspects of your website.

How WordPress Plugins Impact Website Speed & Performance

WordPress plugins and website performance

There are many different types of WordPress plugins, and they each impact your website performance differently.

There are plugins that affect mainly the front-end. For example, page builder plugins, contact forms, galleries, sliders, etc.

Then there are plugins that are mainly made to perform tasks within the back-end or admin area. For example, WordPress backup plugins, editorial plugins, various background processes, etc.

There are also plugins that run everywhere including admin area and front-end. For example, SEO plugins, WordPress firewall plugins, and more.

A WordPress plugin’s impact on website speed and performance depends on where that plugin is being loaded.

For example, plugins that are only loaded when you are doing specific tasks in the WordPress admin area usually will not impact your website’s performance.

On the other hand, plugins that are loaded on the front-end are likely to have a larger performance footprint.

Also plugins that perform routine background processes like broken link checking, 404 monitoring, etc can also significantly slow down your overall website performance.

Plugins can impact your site performance by:

  • Making additional HTTP requests – Some plugins (mainly front-end ones) may require custom styling or scripts to work properly. Because of this, they may add extra JS and/or CSS file(s). Loading these files require making additional HTTP requests which slows down your page load time.
  • Additional DB Queries – Some plugins may increase your database queries. For example, plugins to display popular posts, related posts, or anything else that pulls database elements and displays it on the front-end.
  • Background Processes & Database Writes – Some plugins can take up a lot of server resources while running background processes such as checking for broken links, monitoring and recording analytics like post views, etc.

Most good WordPress plugins will only load additional files when needed, and they will minimize the database calls. However, sometimes it is just unavoidable.

Luckily, there are optimizations available for most cases. Let’s take a look at a short term and a long term fix for these issues.

Before we do this, first make sure that you have caching enabled on your WordPress site. Without caching, your website will always be slow.

Now, let’s move on to other optimizations.

Fixing Additional HTTP Requests Issue

Plugins have to add additional HTTP requests (i.e JS and CSS file) to work out of the box. For example, when you install a contact form plugin, you want it to work and look good too.

People complain about additional HTTP requests while ignoring that they are sometimes necessary. Here is what an unstyled form would look like.

Contact form without styling

Most users would not like it, some would even think that it’s broken. Well, that is exactly what would happen if the contact form doesn’t add the additional HTTP requests to load CSS and JS files.

In short, the additional styles and scripts are needed for the plugin to function properly.

There are three ways to optimize the additional HTTP requests issue. All of them require some coding knowledge and WordPress know-how, but one will method is definitely easier than the others.

The first method would be to unregister the additional styles and scripts that are being loaded by the plugin. After that you can combine the plugin styles into your theme’s style.css file and combine the plugin scripts into your theme’s main JavaScript file.

The second method would be to conditionally load the plugin styles/scripts on pages where they are needed.

We have already explained both methods in our article about disabling additional scripts and stylesheets that WordPress plugins add.

As for folks who are not code-savvy, you can use a premium caching plugin like WP Rocket which allows you to minify and combine files with a single click. This will work for most cases, but in some cases it can cause conflicts with specific plugins.

With that said, you must understand that a few additional HTTP requests are not as significant as you may think. We are talking about milliseconds here. However if you have a lot of plugins that are adding additional HTTP requests, then this optimization will allow you to shave a few seconds off your load time.

A lot of non-techy business owners simply hire a WordPress developer from Codeable to speed up their website (which is a worthwhile investment).

Now that we have covered HTTP requests, let’s take a look at additional DB queries.

Fixing Additional Database Queries and Background Processes

Some plugins may increase the load on your database server. WordPress itself does a very good job at caching the queries and most well-coded plugins will not cause any significant issue.

However, if you have a high traffic website, then using database-driven plugins can become an issue especially if you don’t have proper server resources.

For example if you have a membership website or an online store with WooCommerce, then you are serving a lot of uncached requests. In this scenario the only real option is to use a managed WordPress hosting solution or even a specialized WooCommerce hosting solution.

Now there are some plugins that are extremely resource intensive, and you should avoid them at all costs.

For example, there are plugins that add various analytics functionality within WordPress such as some email opt-in plugin, website stats plugin, post views tracking plugin, etc. These plugins inefficiently write to the database on every page load which can significantly slow down your website.

You can track analytics in a more scalable manner with plugins like Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights or Jetpack Stats.

You can add email opt-in forms with more scalable tracking with plugins like OptinMonster or by using signup forms from your favorite email marketing services.

There are also plugins that monitor 404 errors and track broken links which can add heavy load and overwhelm the server resources. Instead of using those plugins, you should use a third-party cloud services like Ahrefs or SEMRush that automatically track broken links and offer a lot of other useful SEO insights as well.

If you don’t want a premium solution, then you can use a free tool like Broken Link Check which lets you check 300 pages at a time for broken links.

How WordPress Plugins Impact Security

How plugin can impact WordPress security

Security is another major concern when it comes to installing WordPress plugins. Many users worry that having more plugins can make their site more vulnerable.

It is true, that a poorly coded WordPress plugin can be exploited by hackers and make your site vulnerable. However, it is also true for just about every software that exists.

Oversights are bound to happen. However, the best part about open source is that many people are using the software, which makes it faster for a vulnerability to be discovered and fixed.

You can keep your website secure by using a WordPress security plugin like Sucuri. They scan thousands of websites and will help you catch most security problems with a vulnerable plugin.

You can also protect your website by improving your overall WordPress security. This allows you to add layers of security before any vulnerability can be exploited by hackers.

WordPress Plugins and Reliability

An abandoned plugin

Some folks are concerned about a plugin’s reliability. What if the plugin gets discontinued? What if the updates are slow?

The beautiful part about the open source WordPress ecosystem is that there are always alternatives.

If you use a popular plugin, chances are that it will not be discontinued. If it is, then someone else will likely fork it and continue the development. That’s the power of open source. This is also how WordPress came into existence (previous platform was called b2/cafelog).

As long as you pick plugins with a good track record and reputable authors, then you will be fine.

Can I Avoid Plugins by Adding Code Snippets?

There are articles throughout the web that shows you: “How to do XYZ in WordPress without a plugin” (like this one).

The purpose of these articles is not to discourage using plugins but to show you how to learn code. There are basically three ways you can add code snippets to your site. You can add them to your functions.php file, a site-specific plugin, or use a plugin to add custom code snippets.

Regardless of which method you choose, adding code snippets to your website has the same performance impact as a stand-alone plugin.

If you install code snippets that are identical to a plugin, then basically you are running the plugin without installing it. The downside is that you won’t get any plugin updates or security fixes for that code.

For more information on this topic, see our guide on WordPress plugin vs functions.php file which one is better.

How Many WordPress Plugins Should You Install? How many WordPress Plugins are too many?

How many plugins to install

You should install as many WordPress plugins as necessary to run your website and grow your business.

On average, its quite common for a business website to have at least 20 – 30 plugins.

If you’re using WordPress to it’s full potential and have many advanced features, then this count can easily go into 50+.

For example, here’s the number of active plugins on our websites:

  • WPBeginner – 62 active plugins
  • OptinMonster – 67 active plugins
  • WPForms – 54 active plugins
  • MonsterInsights – 68 active plugins
  • Syed Balkhi’s blog – 42 active plugins
  • RafflePress – 17 active plugins
  • WP Mail SMTP – 39 active plugins

These count should highlight that it’s not the quantity of plugins that slow down your website.

You will be fine with a large number of plugins, as long as you are using high-quality plugins that follow the WordPress coding standards.

Here is our website’s performance result via Pingdom.

WPBeginner Homepage Pingdom

Despite using dozens of plugins and custom code snippets, our website still loads in half a second (479 milliseconds).

How to Pick the Best WordPress Plugins?

One of the most frequently asked question by our users is ‘how do I choose the best plugins for my website?’

If you are looking for a free plugin, then only download it from WordPress.org plugin directory. The official WordPress plugin directory also makes it easier to choose good plugins.

How to Find the Best WordPress Plugin

You can see a plugin’s rating and reviews provided by other WordPress users. You can also see when the plugin was last updated and how many websites have it installed.

On the other hand, if you are looking into a premium plugin, then make sure they are from a well-reputed WordPress company or developer. If you are unsure, then look around for reviews and testimonials.

For more details, see our complete guide on how to choose the best WordPress plugins.

If you are just starting out, then see our expert-pick of the essential WordPress plugins that every website should have. You can also check out WPBeginner’s WordPress plugins category where we regularly share the best WordPress plugins and how to use them.

We hope this article answered your questions about how many WordPress plugins should you install. You may also want to see our article debunking the most common WordPress myths.

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 Many WordPress Plugins Should You Install? What’s too many? appeared first on WPBeginner.



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How to Fix WordPress RSS Feed Errors


Are you encountering RSS feed errors on your WordPress site? RSS feeds help users subscribe to your blog using news reader apps like Feedly.

Since RSS feeds are published in the XML markup language, a tiny mistake in the feed can make it unreadable, and users will not be able to see new content in their news feeds.

Other apps also rely on getting content updates from your WordPress RSS feed. For example, if you use IFTTT to automate social sharing of your new posts, then that would stop working as well.

In this article, we will show you how to easily fix RSS feed errors in WordPress. We will also talk about what causes those errors and how to avoid them in the future.

Fixing WordPress RSS feed errors

Most Common WordPress RSS Feed Errors

Most common WordPress RSS feed errors are caused by poor formatting.

WordPress outputs RSS feeds in XML which is a strict markup language. A missing line break or an extra tab can break your RSS feed.

The RSS error message will look something like this:

XML Parsing Error: XML or text declaration not at start of entity
Location: http://example.com/feed
Line Number 2, Column 1:

Depending on what browser you are using, your RSS feed error message may vary.

You can also see this error message when visiting your feed in a browser.

Warning: Cannot modify header information – headers already sent by (output started at /home/username/example.com/wp-content/themes/twentysixteen/functions.php:433) in /home/username/example.com/wp-includes/pluggable.php on line 1228

If you are using FeedBurner, then your errors may look different.

Having said that, let’s take a look at what causes these RSS feed errors and how to fix them.

Manually Fixing RSS Feed Errors in WordPress

The most likely reason for your RSS feeds to show error is poor formatting. This poor formatting can be caused by a blank space after closing PHP tag in a plugin or in your theme’s functions.php file.

If you recently added a code snippet to your theme or child theme‘s functions.php file. Then you need to edit your functions file.

If there is a closing PHP tag at the end of your functions file, then you need to make sure that there is no extra space or line breaks after it.

Ideally, the closing PHP tag is not required at the end of the file. This is why it would be best if you remove the closing php tag altogether.

This should fix the problem in most cases. However, if it does not fix your RSS feed error, then continue reading.

Disable RSS Feed Related Plugins

If you are using a WordPress plugin that modifies your website’s RSS feed or creates a new one, then you need to disable that plugin.

If you are unsure, then you can temporarily disable all WordPress plugins.

Deactivate all WordPress plugins

Next, check your RSS feed for the error. If the error disappears, then this means one of the plugins installed on your website was the culprit.

You can now reactivate your installed plugins one by one and check your RSS feed after activating each plugin. This way you will be able to find out exactly which plugin is causing the issue.

Once you have located the plugin, you can contact the plugin’s support for an update or find an alternative plugin that does the same thing.

Temporarily Switch to a Default Theme

Occasionally, a poorly coded WordPress theme function can also affect your WordPress RSS feed. To see if the problem is caused by your WordPress theme, you need to temporarily switch to a default WordPress theme.

Simply go to Appearance » Themes page and if you already have a default theme installed then activate it.

Activate default WordPress theme

Default themes include Twenty Nineteen, Twenty Seventeen, Twenty Sixteen, and so on. If you don’t have one installed on your website, then you can click on the Add New button to install and activate it. See our guide on how to install a WordPress theme for step by step instructions.

Install and activate a default WordPress theme

After switching to the default theme, check your WordPress feed for error. You can visit your feed in a browser window or test it with a feed validator tool.

If the error disappears, then this means your WordPress theme was causing the issue. You can contact the theme author for support or find a suitable new theme for your website.

We hope this article helped you fix WordPress RSS feed errors on your site. You may also want to take a look at our guide on how to increase your website traffic and why you need to build an email list right away.

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 Fix WordPress RSS Feed Errors appeared first on WPBeginner.



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How To Bulk Install Your Favorite Plugins in WordPress


Are you looking for an easy way to bulk install your favorite plugins in WordPress?

If you frequently create new WordPress sites, then you likely have a list of must have plugins which you install on every website that you create.

By default, WordPress allows you to install one plugin at a time. Manually installing multiple one by one can take few extra minutes. This can become annoying if you do it quite often.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could quickly install all your favorite WordPress plugins at once? In this article, we will show you how to easily bulk install your favorite plugins in WordPress step by step.

Simple Guide on How to Bulk Install Plugins in WordPress

Installing WordPress Plugins in Bulk (Step by Step)

There are more than 55,000+ plugins available in the free WordPress.org directory alone. However, most users stick to a set of must have WordPress plugins that they install on each new website.

Let’s see how you can bulk install all your favorite plugins in one go.

Step 1: Install WPCore Plugin Manager Plugin

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

WPCore Plugin Manager is a free online tool which lets you create a collection of your favorite WordPress plugins and quickly install them on your site.

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

WPCore Plugin Manager Plugin Settings

On the WPCore plugin collections page, you will be prompted to add a collection key to import plugins.

So, the next step is to create a plugin collection with your selected plugins and get the key. Alternatively you can use many other pre-made collections from their website such as WPBeginner’s Favorite Plugins collection.

Step 2: Create a Collection of Your Favorite Plugins

To create a collection of your favorite plugins, you need to visit WPCore website and click on the ‘Create your FREE account’ button.

Create a Free Account on WPCore

Next, you will see the registration page. Enter your username, email, and password, accept the terms, verify reCAPTCHA, and then click on the ‘Create Account’ button.

Register FREE on WPCore Website

On the next screen, it will allow you to create your new plugin collection. Add your collection title, description, choose ‘Public’ or ‘Private’ collection you want to make and then click on the ‘Continue’ button.

Create a New Plugin Collection on WPCore

After that, it will create the collection where you can add your favorite plugins in it. Simply click on the ‘Add’ icon next to ‘WordPress.org plugins’ to add plugins from the official WordPress plugin repository.

Add Plugins on Your Plugin Collection on WPCore

After that, a new popup window will appear where you can search for a WordPress plugin by its name. For example, we will search ‘MonsterInsights’.

Now it will search the plugin and show all the results related to the search term. Once the results are loaded, you need to choose the right option and click on it to add the plugin to your collection.

Search Plugin to Add in Your WPCore Plugin Collection

Once you select it, the plugin will be added to the collection.

Plugin Added to WPCore Plugin Collection

Now you can add more plugins by following the same steps.

The free version of the WPCore Plugin Manager lets you add only the free plugins from WordPress.org. If you want to bulk install custom plugins and premium WordPress plugins from other third-party sites, then you need to use their paid plan.

Once you have added all the best WordPress plugins of your choice, navigate to a small box at the top right side of your screen. The code in the red color inside the box is your plugin collection key.

WPCore Plugin Collection Key

Go ahead and copy the code. Next, you have to add the key on your WordPress site using the WPCore plugin which you installed earlier.

Step 3: Bulk Install Your Favorite Plugins

Go ahead and open the ‘WPCore’ option on your admin panel and click on the ‘Add a collection key’ button there.

Add Collection key on WPCore Plugin Manager Plugin

After that, it will show a field where you need to paste the plugin collection key. Paste the key that you copied earlier and click on the ‘Save Collections’ button. You can also use our collection key here too for installing WPBeginner’s Favorite Plugins collection.

Save WPCore Plugin Collection Key on WordPress

WPCore plugin will now load your plugin collection and prepare for installation. It will add a notification which reads ‘WPCore recommends the following plugins:’ at the top. and shows the list of the plugins

Now you just need to click on the ‘Begin installing plugins’ option, and the plugin will start the job.

Click Begin Installing Plugins Option on WPCore

On the next screen, you will see the ‘Install Plugins’ page with your list of favorite plugins. To install the plugins in bulk, select all by clicking on the box next to ‘Plugin’ option at the top.

Select All Plugins to Bulk Install on WordPress with WPCore

Once all the plugins are selected, click on the dropdown option and choose the ‘Install’ option. Next, click on the ‘Apply’ button.

Install WordPress Plugins in Bulk with WPCore

After that, WordPress will install the plugins one by one. Once done, it will notify you with ‘All installations have been completed’ message.

All Plugins Installed in WordPress with WPCore

Simply click on the ‘Return to Required Plugins Installer.’

On the next screen, you will see the list of plugins that you just installed. Now you have to activate these plugins.

First, select all plugins by clicking on the checkbox and choose ‘Activate’ option from the dropdown. Next, click on the ‘Apply’ button.

Activate Plugins in Bulk with WPCore

Now WordPress will activate all the plugins one by one. Once done, it will display a notification message to inform you that all plugins are active.

All Plugins Activated Message on WordPress with WPCore

After that, you can see your installed plugins by going to Plugins » Installed Plugins page from your dashboard.

Installed Plugins Page in WordPress

Now you can start configuring your plugin settings and other configurations on your website.

We hope this article helped you learn how to bulk install plugins in WordPress. You may also want to see our guide on how to speed up WordPress and improve your WordPress security.

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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