24 Must Have Plugins

24 Must Have WordPress Plugins for Business Websites in 2017

 Many of our users are business owners who often ask us for plugin suggestions. Having the right set of tools can help you take your business to the next level. In this article, we will share the must WordPress plugins for business websites in 2017.

  1. OptinMonster

OptinMonster is the most popular conversion rate optimization software. It allows you to convert abandoning website visitors into email subscribers. If you want to grow your email list, then this is a must have WordPress plugin in 2017. Read these case studies to see how much success other businesses are having by using OptinMonster.

  1. WPForms

As a business owner, allowing your customers to contact you should be your top priority. WPForms is the most beginner friendly contact form plugin for WordPress. This drag & drop online form builder allows you to easily create contact forms, email subscription forms, order forms, payment forms, and other type of online forms with just a few clicks.

We use it on WPBeginner and all of our other sites. There’s a free WPForms Lite version available for those who are looking for a simple solution.

If you want more advanced features, then get the Pro version. Use this WPForms coupon to get 10% off your purchase.

  1. MonsterInsights

MonsterInsights is the best Google Analytics plugin for WordPress. It allows you to connect your website with Google Analytics, so you can learn more about your website visitors such as where are they coming from and what are they doing on your website.

You can then optimize your site accordingly to improve your earnings. We have detailed guides on how to install Google Analytics in WordPress and how to use Google Analytics.

MonsterInsights also has a free version. If you would like to take advantage of the advanced features, then you should get the Pro version. Use this MonsterInsights coupon to get 10% off your purchase.

  1. Constant Contact

Constant Contact is one of the best email marketing service providers. It allows you to build an email lists and send emails to your subscribers.

It is by far the most beginner friendly platform, with quick and easy setup. It comes with built-in tools to add signup forms and also works well with lead generation software like OptinMonster.

  1. Sucuri

Security is going to be a big concern for online business owners in 2017. Sucuri’s web application firewall is probably one of the best protection you can get for your site.

They monitor and protect your site from DDoS, malware threats, XSS attacks, brute force attacks, and basically every other type of attack.

If you don’t have a firewall on your website, then add one today.

  1. BackupBuddy

While we’re talking about security, there’s no better security than having a reliable backup system.

As a business owner, you cannot afford to lose your business and customer data in case of a hardware failure or an attack on your host’s servers. The first thing you should setup on all your WordPress sites is a backup plugin. We recommend using BackupBuddy because it is one of the most reliable and easiest way to backup and restore your WordPress sites with just a few clicks.

  1. Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO (formerly known as WordPress SEO by Yoast) is one of the most popular WordPress plugins. It allows you to optimize your WordPress site for search engines.

It not only helps you add meta tags, it optimizes your site as a whole. We have a complete step by step guide on how to install and setup WordPress SEO by Yoast.

  1. W3 Total Cache

Speed is one of the most important SEO factors. Faster websites rank higher in Google, this means more visitors for your business website and more conversions.

W3 Total Cache allows you to serve compressed and cached files to your visitors. This reduces the load on your server and your website becomes faster. Take a look at our beginners guide on how to install and setup W3 Total Cache.

  1. MaxCDN

Images and other static content on a website take the longest time to load. If you want to make your website even faster, then you will need to use a CDN to deliver your static files. MaxCDN is the most reliable CDN service, and it integrates easily with WordPress. See our guide on how to install and setup WordPress CDN solution MaxCDN on your site.

  1. Envira Gallery

While you can easily create image galleries in WordPress without using a plugin, these galleries are fairly basic. Envira Gallery allows you to create beautiful responsive galleries in WordPress.

You can create multiple galleries, add them anywhere on your site, create albums, open images in lightbox popups, and much more. Take a look at our tutorial on how to easily create responsive WordPress image galleries with Envira.

  1. Soliloquy

Sliders on your WordPress landing pages allow you to easily display your featured content, products, and announcements in a beautiful interactive way. Soliloquy is the best WordPress slider in the market. It allows you to easily create your own beautiful sliders and add them anywhere on your WordPress site. Check out our tutorial on how to create responsive WordPress slider with Soliloquy.

  1. Buffer

Keeping your followers engaged on social media requires you to frequently post updates. Buffer allows you to easily schedule your posts for the entire day.

This allows you to keep your social media accounts active while you work on other things. See our tutorial on how to schedule WordPress posts for social media with BufferApp.

  1. IFTTT

As a smart business owner, you need to make the most out of your time, but you cannot be everywhere all the time.

This is where IFTTT comes in. It allows you to put the internet to work for you. Take a look at our tutorial on how to automate WordPress and social media with IFTTT.

  1. Quick and Easy FAQs

When launching a new product or website, you may need to add a FAQs section in WordPress. You can add a new page with all the frequently asked questions (FAQs), but in most cases FAQs grows as your product evolves and as your customer base grows.

By adding the FAQ section, you can significantly reduce your support overhead and improve conversion. Take a look at how to add a FAQs section in WordPress.

  1. Insert Headers and Footers

While managing your WordPress sites, you may sometimes need to add code snippets to your WordPress site’s header or footer. This means you will have to edit the theme files which could get messy and break up your WordPress theme. Insert Headers and Footer allows you to easily add code snippets to your WordPress site without editing your theme files. Take a look at our tutorial on how to add header and footer code in WordPress.

  1. CSS Hero

WordPress themes rely on CSS for the visual appearance of your website. If you want to make customization to your theme, then you will have to learn CSS. This can be time consuming for a business owner.

CSS Hero is a WordPress plugin that allows you to customize any WordPress theme without writing a single line of code. Check out our review of how CSS Hero makes WordPress customization easy for more information.

  1. Beaver Builder

As a business owner you may soon realize that placing things differently on your pages can result into more conversions and sales. But how do you create those landing pages without learning to code?

Beaver Builder is a powerful drag and drop page builder tool for WordPress. It allows you to easily create your own page layouts using a simple user interface. See our comparison of the best drag and drop page builders for WordPress for more information.

  1. Google Apps for Work

Google Apps for Work is a suite of web applications like email, docs, spreadsheets, etc. Created by Google, this powerful suite of office applications is cheaper, easy to deploy, and hassle free. Most importantly, it allows you to use your own business domain name for emails.

  1. Freshbooks

Freshbooks is a cloud based accounting software for professionals, freelancers, and agencies. It allows you to easily send invoices to clients, receive payments, and manage your finances. Take a look at our article about creating invoices for clients using WordPress.

  1. SEMRush

As a business owner, you need data to find out what your competitors are doing for their websites. SEMRush allows you to look at the keywords where your competitors are ranking. You can checkout their paid keywords as well as their organic traffic. This way you can optimize your own content and marketing strategy. Also checkout our list of best WordPress SEO plugins and tools that you should use.

  1. All in One Schema.org Rich Snippets

Rich Snippets are special markup that you can add to your content and describe your content more precisely to search engines. This information is then used by search engines to show your content differently. For example, star ratings below your product listings, maps when someone searches for your business, and so on. All in One Schema.org rich snippets plugin provides you an easy user interface to generate that markup and use it in your WordPress posts and pages.

Check our guide on how to add rich snippets in WordPress.

  1. BirchPress

If you need a solution for your business website where your users can book and pay for appointments, then BirchPress is the solution for you. It allows you to easily add a complete online booking system to your WordPress site.

You may also want to see our guide on 5 best WordPress appointment and booking plugins.

  1. Testimonials Widget

Testimonials allow you to showcase your past clients and their feedback about your services of products. People love to hear what others have to say about your business. It helps you gain trust and build lasting relationships with your clients. Testimonials Widgets makes it super simple to add customer testimonials on your WordPress site.

  1. Slack

Slack is a team management, productivity and communication tool. We use it to communicate with our team spread across different timezones and locations. Slack is more convenient than email, and it can integrate with tons of other online tools you may be using. See our guide on how to integrate Slack with WordPress for more information.

We hope this article helped you find some of the best WordPress plugins for your business website. You may also want to take a look at our guide on 25 most common WordPress mistakes that you want to avoid.

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.

 

WP SEO vs Google Sitemaps

Which is Better? Google XML Sitemaps or Yoast SEO

Posted on NOVEMBER 16, 2015 by KARISHMA SIBAL

Sitemaps is a way to inform search engines about pages on their sites that are available for crawling. The first thing that comes in our mind when we talk about sitemap is web page with links on it. It can be considered as a roadmap for the crawlers and list of pages on a website that is accessible to all users. It can be considered as a single page you show the structure of your website and one of the important way of communication with search engines. It is the best way to double-check the link. Also you can provide additional information about the URL by adding metadata.

Sitemap types:

Sitemaps can be divided into 2 types and they are:

HTML sitemaps:

It takes navigation layout of the existing website and breaks it down in a basic form and hence visitors can used it to navigate a website. They are basically webpages where the structure of the website is shown by means of links. It is also good for increasing the SEO since one can place internal links on the page. Also it provides with an alternative to typical navigation on the website.

XML sitemaps:

XML sitemaps are the one that are used by the search engines. It also tells the search engines about which links on the website are more important and how frequently the website is updated. This will help the search engines to better crawl your websites. Besides this it also provides with the way by which the search engine can know about the page and also it can be indexed properly.

NOTE: Besides these sitemap formats, Google also accepts RSS 2.0 and Atom 1.0 feeds and the URL of these feeds can be used as a sitemap.

Comparison between Google XML Sitemaps and Yoast SEO

One of the common question that is asked by most of the beginner blogger is whether Google XML Sitemap is better or Yoast SEO is good for their site. To find the answer to this question let us compare between the two and find the one that is best suitable.

Solved – Google XML Sitemap and Yoast SEO Sitemap Blank Page Error

Google XML Sitemaps:

One can easily create a dynamic sitemap of WordPress blog that will be compatible with Google, Bing and yahoo webmaster tools with the help of Google XML sitemaps WordPress Plugin. It will help to generate a clean sitemap URL . All kinds of WordPress generated pages as well as custom URLs are supported by this plugin. It also notifies all the major search engines whenever a new post is created about the new content.

Yoast SEO:

Yoast SEO will provide you some more control while submitting your sitemap to search engines. It provides with the options for dealing with page titles, descriptions and URLs. Some of the great features that are offered by Yoast SEO are XML sitemap generation and URL redirects. With this plugin one can use the specific sitemaps for posts, categories, tags etc.

Both the products generates a valid XML sitemap for Google, Bing and other search engines.

Conclusion

Though Yoast provides you with some more control while submitting the sitemap to search engines, Google sitemap will also work in the similar way. Both the plugins have their own features and their purpose is the same, so it is not fair to decide the plugin that is best suitable as it is user defined and varies from person to person. Yoast SEO provides other SEO benefits along with the sitemap generation, so you can skip adding one more plugin for sitemap. But again, you need to generate more customised sitemap with advance options, Google XML Sitemap is better for that purpose. Either use Google XML Sitemaps or Yoast SEO because if both the sitemap plugins are enable then one will get the warning message on the dashboard.

 

Fix That Lonely Web Site

Crickets

web site design
Web Site Design

That’s what you hear every time you post a new article on your website. I experience it, and so do most other entrepreneurs trying to build an online audience. To make things worse, you’re probably getting sick of hearing stories of other people turning their entire business around just by blogging. That’s great for them — and it’s inspiring — but that doesn’t help much when you’re working your butt off creating content that no one’s reading.

If you’re trying to diagnose the problem in your lifeless website, here are a few things to consider fixing before throwing in the towel and buying Yellow Pages ads:

Your website creeps people out.

Your website is your first impression, so don’t be weird. When people get weirded out they leave, and you’re left sitting all alone on your creepy site. What do I mean? I’m talking about the ancient Flash video of you walking into the screen and talking, or the super cheesy stock photos of fake people, or the icons that look like they were taken straight out of Windows 98.

Related: Score More Customers With Your Website With These 4 Tips

Your website is the central hub of all of your online marketing. Think of it as your business in digital form. Would you let your actual business get that bad? No, because customers would start talking and business would drop off. Don’t do that to your website visitors either.

Website creation tools like WordPress make it easy — and affordable — to have an amazing looking website. Do yourself a favor and learn WordPress, or find someone who can help you get started with WordPress.

You probably aren’t blogging enough.

So maybe you have a decent website, and you’re feeling good because you added a blog to your site. You’re putting out one new blog post a month. Good job, that’s great. But it’s not going to work.

In case you haven’t already seen it, here’s a stat for you, courtesy of HubSpot. Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got about 4.5 times more leads than companies that published between 0-4 monthly posts.

That might hurt to hear, but it’s a fact.

If you’re going to blog, you have to write a lot, and you have to be consistent. You can create less posts if you want — say, one a month — but it’s going to need to be one massive post in order for it to make up for less volume. Brian Dean at Backlinko is a big proponent of this type of blogging. Either way though, it’s the same amount of time. And it’s probably more than you’re spending now.

Don’t think you can write that much? Then hire someone. Blogging is a huge part of digital marketing and it really does pay off if you invest enough into it.

You haven’t spent enough time promoting your content.

Here’s a rule to consider next time you’re complaining about no one coming to your website. You should spend roughly twice as much time promoting your content as you spent creating it. So if you just spend eight hours creating an in-depth, step-by-step blog post with screenshots, video and graphics, you should spend 16 hours promoting that piece.

Start by making a list of 100-200 influencers in your industry. This should be people or companies who would be interested in sharing articles like yours with their audience. Remember, you want to target people who would be interested in sharing it, not people who are just interested in the topic. That means anyone who could be a competitor of yours is not going on this list.

Related: 7 Steps to Finally Master Content Promotion in 2016

Then spend your time emailing each and every one of them simply letting them know that you created a new post about [insert topic] and thought they would enjoy it. If it’s good, they’ll share it or link to it on their own site. Don’t be sleazy and ask for a backlink.

You can save time finding influencers to reach out to by using BuzzSumo. You’ll just type in the target keyword, pick an article from the list, and click “View Sharers.” You’ll get a list influencers who have shared a similar article to yours, then you’ll have to do some investigative work to find each influencer’s email address.

You can also use a site like ahrefs.com to find sites that have linked to content similar to yours, and reach out to them as well. It isn’t easy, and it’s time consuming, but the payoff can be amazing. Check out some of Dean’s stories over at Backlinko to see how it’s done using what he calls the Skyscraper Technique.

Your blog is all about you or it isn’t helpful at all.

No one cares about how great your company is. They don’t even care about the amazing features and benefits your product/service provides. They’ll be ready for it eventually, but your blog is not the place for it.

Your blog should focus on one main objective — answering questions. Whether they’re questions you’ve actually been asked by customers before or questions you think customers could or would ask, you’re goal should be to answer every imaginable question in the form of a blog post. Do that, and you’ll have more than enough to write about.

Related: The 7 Deadly Sins of Business Blogging

You’re not as active on social media as you should be.

Stop being afraid you’re going to annoy people on social media. You can and should be posting multiple times a day. As long as you’re not literally reposting the same exact post over and over, you’ll be fine.

For Facebook, two times per day is reasonable before likes and comments begin to drop off dramatically, according to an article on Buffer. As for Twitter, it’s way too crowded of a platform to drop a tweet and leave. Your voice will simply get lost in the noise, so don’t be afraid to tweet multiple times per day. Use a service like Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule your posts if you have to, or just use Facebook’s native ability now, but be active enough to where people don’t forget about you.

You haven’t considered paying to get your blog content out.

I know content marketing and not interrupting people is all the rage, and that’s all well and good, but unless you have a large following, you’re going to have to slide Mark Zuckerburg a Benjamin from time to time in order to get your content out to the right people.

You’re going to need to know a bit about targeting your Facebook ads if you want to see real results though. It’s not difficult to do simple ads, it just takes time to learn who your audience is exactly and how to target them in the Power Editor. Here’s a great resource to help you learn Facebook Ads.

Do not give up.

Don’t let the fact that no one’s coming to your website get you discouraged. If you take a look around at some of the most successful companies doing content marketing, you’ll notice they usually did it for a while before they caught traction.

If you want to generate traffic to your website, it’s going to take consistent work over time. Write, publish, promote like crazy, repeat. Assuming your content strategy is well-planned, do that process for three to six months and you’re almost guaranteed to see the needle move.

 

Mick Taylor

Pain Free Blog Publishing

Pain Free Publishing: New WordPress Tricks to Make Blogging Easy

Updated on July 28th, 2017 • in BEGINNER TIPS • by Alex Denning – One Comment

Following all the steps to get a WordPress post published, shared and promoted can be an unnecessarily complicated process. This post will look at some nice WordPress tricks to reduce the resistance in the publishing process and how to automate as many of the steps as possible.

Blogging should be pain-free and easy. WordPress does a lot of things very well, but we’re not yet at the point where publishing is exquisitely easy. We might get to that point eventually with the new Gutenberg editor (or not?), but in the meantime we’ll have to rely on WordPress tricks to make blogging easier.

Indeed, you’re not blogging because there’s fun to be had in optimizing images, updating plugins, and formatting text (and obviously then reformatting text because you switched out of HTML).

You’re blogging because you want to share your writing.

When I first started blogging with WordPress, the software was in its relative infancy and getting a post out the door was an incredibly tedious process, involving:

  • Manually resizing and optimizing images.
  • Updating my ‘featured content slider’ by keeping x number of posts in a ‘featured’ category.
  • Adding a meta description and custom SEO title using custom fields (and having to count the characters of each).
  • Creating a featured image, uploading via the media uploader and then pasting the URL into a custom field.
  • Adding a custom excerpt (for the featured slider).
  • Adding a regular excerpt.
  • Etc etc.

Pain Free Publishing: New #WordPress #Tricks to Make #Blogging Easy

CLICK TO TWEET

WordPress makes posting a lot simpler these days, but there are still some neat WordPress tricks you can apply in order to make your publishing process easier.

This post is going to lay out a series of easy WordPress tricks you can use to making your blogging process simpler, faster and stress-free. You can spend five minutes reading this article, half an hour implementing the WordPress tricks you’ve learned and within a couple of posts you’ll more than make the time back. Sound good? Let’s get stuck in.

Here’s the TOC if you prefer to jump straight to the part that you’re most interested in:

Choose a theme that embraces simplicity | Spend less time dealing with images | Be really very careful about which shortcodes you use | Write more, undistracted | Automate visitor retention | Surprise and delight readers | Take the time out of your email list | Automate social sharing

Choose a theme that embraces simplicity

The easiest WordPress trick stems from your theme choice. The story above – of how complex my WordPress publishing process was – came of using a complicated WordPress theme at a time when WordPress core was lacking many of the features we now take from granted such as featured images.

Here’s the secret: you can strip out much of the complexity of publishing by using a theme that embraces simplicity and readability. With fewer “bells and whistles” in your WordPress theme, there’s less for you to worry about when publishing – and you’ll be able to get your posts out faster.

Choose a WordPress theme that lets you focus on your content, and then let your content do the talking. You’ll be in good company doing this: extremely popular blogs such as zen habits and James Clear are very simple sites, with just the content on display.

Good examples of WordPress themes which embrace simplicity are Zillah (a theme that’s ThemeIsle’s own creation – the one used on the ThemeIsle blog; free theme) and Independent Publisher 2 from Automattic (download link is at the bottom of the page).

What’s more, simple doesn’t have to mean unintuitive for your readers: instead of a complicated featured slider on your blog’s homepage, you could, for example, make use of a start page which guides readers to the content most likely to be most interesting to them.

This is a highly accessible WordPress trick; if you’re frustrated with how long it takes to publish a post, just make the switch to something simpler.

Go to top

Spend less time dealing with images

Once you’ve simplified your WordPress theme, we’ll next take aim at images. This is another area where WordPress has come an awfully long way and a number of small WordPress tricks can vastly improve your process for dealing with images in WordPress.

If you’re using unedited stock images, you can vastly reduce the amount of time you’re spending looking for images by using a plugin which builds a stock image search into the WordPress media library. Dreamstime Stock Photos is a free plugin which does this, giving you 25 million free stock photos to choose from – right from the media library.

If, however, you’re preferring to spend a bit more time on the images accompanying your post, you’ll know that a little extra effort can result in killer graphics which really enhance the reading experience.

Fortunately, creating killer graphics doesn’t have to be complicated: Snappa is a browser-based image editor which makes it easy to create featured images, infographics and eBook covers – as well as images for almost every social media platform.

A popular alternative is Canva, although I prefer Snappa for its wider blog-image support.

The WordPress tricks don’t stop with the image creation! Make sure you’re using Automattic’s popular free Jetpack plugin to ensure your images are automatically resized, optimized and hosted on an (also free) content delivery network. In order to make use of these image features, you’ll need to make use of Jetpack’s Photon module. See this video for instructions on how to get this set up.

One final bonus trick: if you still prefer to look for stock photos on external sites, then use Stock Up. Stock Up collates from 26 really high quality stock image sites and lets you search all of them at once, directing you to the original site for download. An excellent time saver.

Spending less time dealing with images when publishing a WordPress post is an excellent low hanging fruit to make your blogging process easier. It’s well worth taking the time to optimize this process.

Be really very careful about which shortcodes you use

Shortcodes are a convenient way of adding powerful formatting and features. The most useful shortcodes are not, however, specifically built into WordPress core: it’s up to your themes and plugins to add the shortcodes.

This is fine and allows individual themes and plugins to add really neat functionality. What’s not fine, though, is if you use shortcodes built into your theme and then switch themes, you’ll find empty [shortcodes] littered around your posts.

I want to emphasize this point: if the theme was powering the shortcode and you’ve switched themes then obviously there won’t be any output of neat functionality – you’ll just have [shortcodes] everywhere. This looks terrible and makes for an exceptionally poor user experience.

What are the WordPress tricks here which can save the day? Always, always use plugins for your shortcodes. If they’re formatting shortcodes, then use a specifically-built plugin. Anything else, and you’re going to be either locked in or faced with having to go through and replace a bunch of useless square brackets in all of your posts.

I like to use Shortcodes Ultimate. It’s free, purpose built and fully-featured – without being bloated. Otherwise, I more or less don’t use them.

(Editor’s note; Shortcodes Ultimate is actually our favorite shortcodes plugin here at CodeinWP. We use it all the time to construct custom layouts for our posts. Even the post you’re reading now features a handful of SU shortcodes in it.)

Be future proof! Be super careful about which shortcodes you’re using.

Shortcodes Ultimate

Author(s): Vladimir Anokhin

Current Version: 4.10.2

Last Updated: July 22, 2017

shortcodes-ultimate.zip

Write more, undistracted

So you’ve simplified your site’s usability and future-proofed the backend. But what about actually producing content? Immersing yourself fully in the writing process is the single best way to get writing done. Eliminate distractions and you’ll be able to write more, faster.

WordPress knows this too and has a distraction-free mode built in. You’ll find it on the top right of the editor UI, or just hit Alt + Shift + G to get there quickly. Once you start typing you’ll see everything other than what you’re writing fade away and you can concentrate on getting words down. Move your mouse again and the menus will come back.

Even in WordPress’ distraction free mode you’re still faced with the distractions hiding in your other tabs, only a Ctrl + Tab away. If you’re of a superior-willpower disposition this may not challenge you, but I find that I need some WordPress tricks which will let me be totally immersed in writing.

We’re now stepping into the world of dedicated writing apps. Tread carefully, as they’re often unreasonably expensive and do not include the MacBooks and cappuccinos you’ll typically find them pictured with.

I’ll cut to the chase: there are a ton of writing apps, especially for Mac; most are okay, some are good, none have all the features I want, and all are expensive:

  • com for Desktop(also known as Calypso) is available for Windows, Mac and Linux and delivers a pretty smooth distraction-free user experience, as well as convenient access to a number of other parts of the WordPress Dashboard. Whilst the app was primarily built for WordPress.com users, it also works with self-hosted users who have the Jetpack plugin installed.
  • Ulyssesfor Mac (also on iPad) is very good and is my writing app of choice. It can export directly to WordPress which is very convenient and generally has all the features you’d want. It is pricey, but if you write a lot it will be worth it.
  • Writeand Letterspace, also for Mac, are cheaper alternatives sharing many of the features of Ulysses.
  • MarkdownPadfor Windows was my go-to Windows app for writing with markdown for a long time. You don’t get WordPress integration, but you do get a very powerful editor.
  • Editor’s note; The ones I particularly enjoy and use every day are: iA Writerand Bear. The former is the best writing app for Mac, IMO. The latter has better integration with the MacBook Pro touch bar.

The thing all these writing apps have in common is markdown support. Markdown is a writing language specifically designed for the web, designed so that you don’t have to take your fingers off the keyboard. Everything – formatting, adding links and adding images – is done inline with a couple of bits of syntax. In short: Markdown lets you write faster. This is a neat introduction, if you’re not familiar with it.

A dedicated writing app can become your place to ignore everything else and focus completely on writing. WordPress’ distraction free mode is okay, but use one of these WordPress tricks and you can do a lot better. Beat distractions! Write faster and make blogging easier.

Automate visitor retention

Making publishing easier lets you spend more time focusing on the quality of your content. Focusing on the quality of your content will give you a better blog. And a better blog can be a more successful blog – as long as you make sure you’re able to retain visitors.

Automatically displaying related posts at the bottom of each post is a great way of keeping visitors engaged: you’re saying “have you finished one thing? Great, here’s another thing that’s just as good.”

Jetpack, again, has the solution here, with a related posts module built in. You activate it, as with all of the plugin’s modules, under the settings. The killer feature of Jetpack’s related posts is it does the analysis of which posts to display off your server. This makes the feature very friendly to shared WordPress hosting which can’t handle resource intensive tasks.

If you would prefer to use a standalone plugin – which is potentially more resource-intensive, than Related Posts for WP is a well-respected option (premium, $39).

Surprise and delight readers (rather than demand their email address)

Conventional audience-building and email marketing wisdom says that the only way to acquire your readers’ email addresses is to offer some sort of “carrot”: a bonus or incentive. But, conventional wisdom says a lot of things; follow them all and you’ll always be following the latest trends rather than setting them.

There’s a very strong and very interesting argument to be made for surprising and delighting readers by giving away truly valuable bonuses without demanding emails and merely asking for email addresses once readers are sold on the value and quality of your blog.

Think of it this way: how often have you stayed long-term-subscribed to a site which coerced you into giving it your email address?

The answer is probably very very few. The best email newsletters I get have come from enjoying the quality of a site’s content and voluntarily signing up. You should be taking the same approach on your site: publish exceptional content, give away excellent bonuses and do not demand email addresses at any stage.

A case study of this in practice – and working – is from Sumo.com Marketing boss Nat Eliason. Nat killed his email capture in favor of giving away content, and building loyalty and trust with his readers. His site views have exploded: his site now receives hundred of thousands of visitors a month and email list is growing very well indeed.

Surprising and delighting your readers by giving away bonus content has the added plus of being a heck of a lot simpler to set up. It’s simple to create a PDF of your content that you can just upload through the WordPress media uploader, no email marketing integration required. This is a WordPress trick which not only makes blogging easier for you, but will also ensure very happy readers.

Editor’s note; Even though we do a lot of stuff in terms of email on this site, we do also provide extra content without asking people to subscribe. For example, if you’re interested in what the highest rated WordPress hosting plans are, we did a big survey trying to find that out. In our results post, we share a raw export file with the survey data – in case you want to do your own analysis. That file is downloadable without having to join our list. Check it out.

Give people consistently high-quality content and they’ll give you their time, attention and traffic.

time out of your email list

Once you’ve surprised and delighted readers so much they feel compelled to sign up to your email list, it’s important to ensure you utilize that resource and regularly contact your list. Unfortunately, crafting emails for your list when you’ve published a new article (if that’s how you roll with your email) can be a massive time sink, especially if the content needs extensive reformatting when added into your email service.

The solution is to automate as much of this as possible. There are a number of WordPress tricks you can employ here, depending on how complicated your email setup is:

Send new posts to an email newsletter via RSS. Most popular email tools have an “RSS to draft” feature, whereby new posts are pulled from your site automatically but you’ll need to manually check and send. This handles a lot of the grunt work for you. Automation service IFTTT can be of help here: here’s what you can do with Mailchimp, for example.

Create a custom page template in WordPress to autofill your email. This second option is much more complicated, but much more powerful: this is how sites such as WPShout and wpMail generate their content-heavy newsletters (which use a consistent format) every week. Both sites have a custom page template setup (in practice this would use code similar to a custom archive page) to automagically pull in posts which fit certain criteria.

There’s then space for a custom introduction to be added, and the whole email can then be copied-and-pasted into an email provider. This is a much more complicated WordPress trick, but is incredibly powerful and a huge time saver.

Editor’s note; Plus, if you’re interested in more RSS-related WordPress tricks, we cover a couple of them in another post on the blog – where we talk about what you can do with various “RSS to post” plugins.

In my opinion the best newsletters are the ones sent on a regular basis, with a personalized touch. Take the time out of your email list with these WordPress tricks, but don’t fully automate; be prepared to invest some time in order to create the best possible reader experience.

Automate social sharing

Another big candidate for automation and time saving is social sharing. As soon as you publish a post you’ll want to share it across your social networks, so you may as well make this easy.

Before you do any social sharing, make sure you have the Yoast SEO plugin installed. This will make sure if you have a featured image, social networks pick up on this and display the image alongside your post when shared. You can also set these manually under Yoast SEO’s settings, but with a focus on WordPress tricks to making blogging easy, we won’t recommend this. If you want to learn more about this feature you’ll find a guide here – and don’t forget you can use our previous image tricks to easily create appropriately sized images for social networks.

Now that you’ve got the initial setup done, it’s time to move on to the actual social media sharing automation. Jetpack again can save the day here: the Publicize featurelets you automatically post on your social networks when a new post is published. All you need to do is connect Jetpack to the social networks you want to use, and WordPress will handle everything next time you publish a new post.

This trick will, however, only help you out with sharing your post the first time it’s published. To keep sharing your posts and keep getting new traffic, you’ll want to use Revive Old Post. This plugin makes it easy to keep re-sharing posts from your blog archives and automatically publish them to your social feeds. You just have to set this up once, then reap the benefits long term!

WordPress tricks help you get on with writing!

The goal of these WordPress tricks is to ensure that your writing and publishing processes are easy, fast and pain-free. After all, if these processes are easier, you’re more likely to actually do them.

A WordPress blog which is simpler to use is one where you can be publishing more content more regularly.

Here’s a quick recap you can reference back to:

  1. Embrace simplicity – choose a theme that reflects this.
  2. Spend less time dealing with images by using stock-image plugins
  3. Future-proof your content. Don’t use shortcodes attached to your theme.
  4. Use a dedicated writing app for faster, distraction free writing.
  5. Automate related posts using Jetpack.
  6. Give away bonuses, don’t bother with email opt-ins.
  7. Automate your email list (as much as possible).
  8. Automate social sharing with Revive Old Post, Jetpack, and Yoast.

CLICK TO TWEET

Go away and implement these right now. The time it takes will be more than won back in time saved, plus you’ll take some of the pain out of publishing and you’ll want to put out more posts.

 

8 SEO Topics to Incorporate in Your Content


Wondering which SEO tactics you should be targeting throughout this year? If so, you’re not alone.
SEO is changing all the time and it can be tough to stay on top of it. Luckily, this list will give you the perfect place to start.

8 SEO Tactics to Incorporate into Your Content Right Now
Whether you’re a small business looking to earn more customers, or a large company that wants to invest more in content in the coming years, these eight SEO tactics will help you meet your goals.

1. Optimize for Mobile
Today, content is nothing if not optimized for mobile. According to Impact Branding and Design, 80 percent of Internet users own a Smartphone, and a whopping 68 percent of companies have integrated mobile marketing into their SEO and content approaches.

Regardless of how you feel about the mobile revolution, one thing is sure: it’s showing no signs of reversing. With this in mind, you must optimize your content for mobile. This can mean using a mobile-responsive template to ensure your links, menus, and content components are large enough to click and read easily on a small mobile screen.

2. Check Reddit for Undiscovered Keywords
Your keyword strategy is essential to the upward mobility of your SEO plan. Unfortunately, keyword research and mining can be limited by your creativity and list of seed keywords. The good news is that there’s one smart and simple way to get around that: Reddit

Reddit, also known as the “Front Page of the Internet,” is an indispensable source for content creators of all types. Not only can it help you connect with your readers, but it can also give you some great ideas for undiscovered keywords in your niche.

Here’s how to use it: type your head term or seed keyword into the Reddit search bar. For example, if your topic is “pet grooming,” you’d type that into Reddit and then search threads for potential keyword options. If you see phrases that pop up again and again, type them into your keyword research tool to see how many searches they get per month. If they seem like good options, add the keywords to your target list for later use in content.

3. Blog, Blog, Blog
Blogging is so obvious for many people that mentioning it often seems excessively simple. If you’re not blogging, though, you should be. Even if you are blogging, you could likely benefit from increasing your frequency this year. In addition to the fact that websites with a blog have a 434 percent more indexed pages than their blog-free counterparts, blogging is also indispensable for eCommerce companies and those who want to educate consumers about products.

Because of this, marketers who blog frequently are 13 times as likely to enjoy a positive ROI as their competitors.If you’re not blogging, 2017 is the time to start. Be sure to focus on high-quality, relevant topics for best results. If you are blogging, consider upping your frequency. According to HubSpot, companies that publish 16 or more posts each month earn more than three times as much traffic as their competitors.

4. Start Linking to Authority Sites
Links are some of the most important SEO tools out there. This is thanks to an old-school Google update known as Hilltop. Unfortunately, linking to low-quality sites won’t do you much good. Instead, focus on linking out to high-quality sites with lots of traffic. Use the Alexa Ranking system to identify these sites, and incorporate links in keyword-rich anchor text throughout your content. Don’t forget to beef up your external link strategy by linking to your internal content, as well.

5. Re-Publish Old Content
If you have old content that’s just sitting around, give yourself a break (and a SEO boost) by re-publishing it. While you shouldn’t just copy and paste an old post into a new window, you can easily break down an old long-form blog post into a series of tweets, create an eBook from a blog series you did, or re-imagine one of your most popular articles as an infographic. Check out our resource on how to repurpose your content correctly for more information.

6. Create “What is” Content
“What is” content is pivotal for the current SEO climate. Here’s why: today, a large portion of Google searches start with the words “what is” or “how to.”By creating content that includes these keywords, and then provides the extensive, in-depth answer your customers are looking for, you can boost your SEO rankings and have a shot at ranking in the coveted “snippet” box.

7. Make it Actionable
In 2017, everything you write should be actionable content. While this isn’t necessarily a SEO tip in the technical sense, it will give your content a SEO boost by making it more valuable and shareable for readers. The more frequently people share your content, the higher Google ranks it and the more visible it becomes for new customers. Focus on instilling a “Take away” in everything you write. Whether you’re telling readers how to solve a problem or which tools to download, they should always walk away from your piece with something solid.

8. Make it Easy to Share
The easier your content is to share, the more likely readers are to take that step. With this in mind, add social sharing buttons to your blog, write a great headline and meta description for your material, and finish it off with a beautiful featured image that will stand out in social media feeds. The more attention you pay to these simple details, the more share-worthy your content will become.
Better SEO Starts Here. It’s 2017, and there’s no excuse to not beef up your content’s SEO value. By doing simple things like making it actionable and easy to share, you can enjoy a wider reach and a more dedicated base of readers, this year and beyond.

Julia McCoy is a bestselling author of So You Think You Can Write, podcaster and an expert content marketer. She’s also the founder and CEO of Express Writers, a leading online content creation agency, with more than 60 content writers and strategists. Julia leads her team to serve hundreds of worldwide businesses with the highest-quality content for their online presence.

Creating Good Content

If you have not been motivated by the concept of, “What’s In It For Me?” (WIIFM?) by now, it is time to get motivated by it. That means that you focus on solving the other person’s problems and don’t focus on telling anyone how amazing you are. It is a totally different approach. Additionally, you need to get the content written quickly.
The right approach will make all the difference
Your target audience is just waiting for you to focus on them. Without exception, none of your target audience members are interested in how amazing you are and how incredible your business is. All that they care about is if you have the ability to solve their problem(s).
The way that you are going to convince them that you are worthy of the faith that they will have in you is through your content. If you write a consistent amount of good-quality content that addresses the issues that your target audience is experiencing, you will start to build a solid, enduring relationship with them. The consistency is an important part of your relationship with the other person. If the person enjoys reading your content and finds it to be valuable, he or she will look forward to reading other content that you share as well as wanting to share the content with other people whom he or she knows and trusts. That is how you may eventually achieve viral status.
With the large volume of content coming at everyone nowadays, it is important for you to distinguish yourself from the next person. Not only does your content need to be well written and compelling but it also needs to offer something unique and superior. The way that you accomplish that is by wrapping your mind around the wants and needs of the other person. Of course, it goes without saying that you must also write and post your content in an expedient manner. In other words, your content must be done quickly and it must be clear, concise, educational, and the other person must want to share it with other people.
You may be wondering how you go about achieving that. Well, there is an approach that you can follow and it will probably work well for you.
• Ensure that your content is organized well: One of the most effective ways to ensure that your content is well-organized is by creating an outline before you actually write the content. If you are a writer who needs that type of guide, it is worth making the effort to work on the outline before you attempt to write anything in full.
Each writer is different. If you have the ability to write without the help of an outline and your writing flows and is cohesive, that is great. On the other hand, if you are not that writer and if your writing lacks flow, an outline is an excellent tool and it will probably help you a great deal.
You want to avoid creating content that is disjointed because that can go a long way to ruining your credibility. That is the last thing that you want to happen. If you decide to use an outline, it doesn’t have to be something complicated or time-consuming. It is just a way of keeping your thoughts organized and logical.
• Work from an established process: If you have a process that you established before you attempted to write anything, you may find it much easier than writing freeform. In many cases, having an established process makes the writing part of it much less stressful. When it comes to writing content that you want other people to take seriously and then follow some action as a result of what you are sharing, you don’t want to leave anything to chance. If you are worried at this point about the process detracting from your ability to be creative, you don’t need to worry. It will not take anything away from your creativity. It is just another helpful tool that is designed to make the writing easier.
If you are not sure what elements should actually be a part of your process, you might want to include such things as creating an outline, writing a draft, editing that draft, and ensuring that the text is free of spelling and punctuation errors. Each phase of your process should be approached simply and methodically. Your process should be simple and easy to follow for anyone who tries to execute it.
• Get someone involved in the research phase: You may feel that you want to handle the research yourself; however, if you are starting to get really busy, you may want to delegate that to someone else. It is important to be able to delegate sometimes. You have every right to dictate exactly what you want the researcher to do and to set limitations on the research.
Once you have received the results of the research, you may feel that you don’t know why you didn’t delegate that task earlier than you did. It may be extremely valuable to let the other person handle that. Of course, it is important that you carefully scrutinize the results of the research so that you can use the material effectively when you actually sit down to write. Having other people handle certain elements of your writing process may allow you to write your content much more quickly and effectively. It is at least worth considering.
• Express clearly how you are going to solve the other person’s problem(s): This is critical to your success. Once your target audience member comes to you to discuss the problem(s) that he or she needs solving, you need to come up with a plan about exactly how you accomplish that. Solving the other person’s problem(s) will be a collaborative effort. It will never be about you working hard to solve the problem and the other person sitting around, waiting for you to come up with a solution. Your part should be solid. You will want to come up with a clear plan that works well and quickly.
• Work smart: Starting from scratch each time is generally not the smartest approach that you can take. If you can avoid it, why would you want to do more work than is necessary? In many cases, you have a lot of valuable material from which to draw and you only have to customize it and tweak it. After all, you knew what you were doing the first time that you worked on that particular problem so you can draw from that. The ways that you can improve upon what you have is by adding some new, relevant details that make the content more current, add some new graphic images to make the content appealing, and referencing some current sources.
Conclusion
Writing good-quality content quickly is probably easier than you might think. Add writing it quickly to the mix and it may be a little more challenging but certainly not impossible. The key to accomplishing that is to use effective tools, such as an outline and a writing process, which will both allow you to write more easily and more quickly. Of course, the quicker you get the content out there, the quicker you can start to reap the benefits of that content.

How to Install New Themes in WP

On this page there are two ways to add a new theme. You can either use the search field which will return results from the WordPress.org theme directory or you can upload a theme from your local hard drive. In this tutorial we will show you how to add themes in both ways.

Choose and Install a theme from the official WordPress theme directory

The easiest way to install themes to your WordPress site is if they are listed in the official themes directory. This allows you to search for the theme you need directly from your site admin page. Each theme in the official directory has to have Tags that describe its functionality allowing you to easily search for the right theme.

If you know the theme’s name, you can simply search for it.

However, usually that’s not the case. This is why, you can use the Feature Filter. For example, you can search for a Black and White, Two columns theme that has Flexible Width. Simply check those tags and press the Apply Filters button.

You will now see all themes that meet your search. Hover over any of them and you will see two options – to see a demo of the theme or to install it. Once you choose which theme you want to use for your site, press the blue Install button.

Your WordPress application will download and install the theme for you. Simply click the Acticate link on the next page you will be redirected to.

That’s all – you can go to the front page of your site to see its new looks.

Upload a theme you have already downloaded

If you have a theme that’s not listed in the WordPress.org directory, you can simply upload it from the Themes -> Install Themes section in WordPress. To do this click on the Upload link at the top of the page.

Now, click the Choose File button, select the archive of your theme from your local computer and press the Install Now button.

In few seconds, WordPress will upload and extract the theme archive for you. All you need to do next is to press the Activate link under the message for successful theme installation.

That’s it! You can now go to the front end of your site and see the newly activated theme.

 

 

 

 

10 tips to optimizing your web page

Listed below are 10 optimization tips that will help improve your web sites search engine rankings.

  1. Defined site architecture and design issues
    Web sites that are built using the following technologies (Flash, Frames) often find it harder to rank well. This is because search engine spiders often have difficulty in navigating or indexing these pages. Obviously the best solution would be to avoid using the above, but sometimes, it is just not practical to apply, here are some workaround solutions.

Sites utilizing Flash technology
Avoid building sites that are completely developed in Flash. If this is not possible, create a HTML version that the search engine bots can easily spider and index. Another compromise would be to develop certain elements in Flash (e.g. banners and menus) while keeping the text content in HTML.

Sites utilizing frames 
Web sites that use frames often have only a singular visible URL. Irregardless of how many different pages of content the visitor sees, the search engine bot only recognizes one page (usually the homepage). This runs the risk of all your interior pages never getting indexed properly or cached. The best solution would be to break the site out of its framing code. Alternatively, you could insert a <noframes> tag and insert your keyword rich content in between.

  1. Sites utilizing dynamic URLs
    There are many high page count sites that utilize a version of session ids and dynamic URLs. Most notably e-commerce sites. Search engine bots often have difficulties indexing these pages, especially if the session id string is very long. Implement amod rewriteto enable your URLs to be more search engine friendly. Write keywords in the URLs to give your web page a rankings boost. For example, http://www.yourdomain.com/store/red-widgets.html
  2. Implement a sitemap
    This tip pertains mostly to web sites that use javascript, image links or maps for its navigation. While the visitor is able to read the links and browse each page without problem, the search engine bot does not read or will ignore such code. By implementing a text link sitemap that links to every page, you are providing the bots with a means to traverse to each page without problems. Placing a text link to the sitemap on your homepage ensures that every page is only 2 clicks away from the root homepage.
  3. Keyword research
    Many times, a webmaster will wonder why his site gets very little targeted, on-topic traffic. By performing a proper keyword research, you can then know exactly what your targeted audience is typing in and searching for.Choosing the right keywords is essential as itwill be used throughout the optimization process. Some great tools for keyword study include KeywordDiscovery.com Keyword Research ToolWordtracker and Overture’s KW Tool.
  4. Avoid converting text to images.
    Search engine bots do not read textual content in the manner humans do. All they ‘see’ in the code is an image. Forget about using Bookman Old Style and stick with Arial or Verdana. This compromise ensures your keyword rich content is not put to waste.
  5. Write keyword rich content
    After you have researched and developed a set of keywords, it is time to put that to good use. Write and publish good original content with those keywords placed throughout your document. Do not overdo this as you may be penalized for keyword spamming.

    Web sites with good original content usually rank well and you should aim for that.DO NOTcopy and paste content from a different site. You will be penalized with duplicate content, and as a result, your web page will never rank well.
  6. Title tag
    By far, one of the most important components of on site optimization is the title tag. Use the proper keywords in the title tag. (Do not stuff keywords). Keep the character count below 65 for optimal results. If you have a site that sells Red Widgets, an example of an optimized title tag would be ‘Red Widgets For Sale’
  7. Meta and Alt tags
    Alot has been said in recent times about the importance of description and keyword meta tags. While Google does not read keyword meta tags anymore, you should still write out short, effective and simple description tags as they do show up in your rankings site description. Keyword meta tags are still read by the smaller search engines, so it is a safe bet to insert a few keywords here.

Be sure to label each image on your web page with Alt tags whenever possible. As always, avoid keyword stuffing or spamming.

  1. One way, reciprocal and internal links
    Using your desired keyword in the anchor text is by far the best method of increasing your ranking. There are many advanced methods of getting links, which I will cover in a future article, but for now, try exchanging links with other similar on topic family friendly and high quality web sites, (be sure that these sites are not spam sites!) or insert links in your internal web pages that point to one another using the page specific keyword.
  2. Don’t overdo it!
    So you have implemented some of the tips described above and are starting to see movement in your rankings. That’s great news, but do not overdo it thinking that more is better. At some point, you will trip the over optimization filter and your site will be flagged and penalized. Moderation is key in SEO.

Our final bit of advice is to keep writing original keyword rich content and source out inbound hyperlinks to give your web site the best chance of rankings success!

 

Web Design and Internet Specialists

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