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How To Create An Effective B2B Site Experience For Your Brand
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WordPress Vs. Drupal: Which Content Management System Is Right For You?
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Is Your WordPress Site Vulnerable?
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How to Secure Your Website Using WordPress Plugins
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How to Optimize the Speed of Your WordPress Website
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Must have WordPress Plugins for Marketers
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26% of the Web Runs on WordPress
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How to Choose the Best Theme for Your WordPress Website
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WordPress SEO Tips for Your Agency
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WordPress Mistakes Your Agency Should Avoid

How To Create An Effective B2B Site Experience For Your Brand

In today’s world of digitization, having a website is a vital element of any business, irrespective of their size and services. If you have a business, you need to have a website. Since everything is online these days, being online should be considered as the ultimate opportunity to reach a large number of targeted audiences. But the conventional way of creating a website is now obsolete. What you should do is opt for a website that is user-friendly, informative and up-to-date.

According to a market survey, the most important things that customers look for on a website are pricing information, technical information, articles/case studies/blog posts and shipping information. However, below are some tips and tactics that will help you create a more effective B2B site in order to validate your brand and generate a site experience that is helpful for the users. Read on-

  • Evaluate Your Own Field:

Many companies often forget the importance of doing internal as well as external research before redesigning or recreating their website. Internal and external research and competitive analysis are a must-have step before redesigning your B2B website.

  • Site Analysis:

The next step to get a better and more user-friendly B2B website is site analysis since it enables you to understand the current position of your competitors. This will also enable you to get a better understanding of the online brand image of your competitor’s site. Check their brand pillars showcased, site structure and content. This research will give you an idea of what visitors actually want from your site. By doing research, you can improve your site dramatically.

  • Keyword Analysis:

One of the most important things that you need to do for a user-friendly B2B website is keyword analysis. In fact, ranking the targeted keywords can directly affect the potential users to visit your site. Research the keywords of your competitors and find out which keywords are ranking high. This will help you make a better marketing strategy.

  • Cater to Your Audience Group:

The B2B customers can be divided into two categories, some users are well informed and want a high-level validation of your brand, whereas, others are less informed, and they want to get a full understanding of products that are offered. Therefore, you need to make your website easily accessible, so that your meeting the needs of your targeted users.

  • Google Analytics:

Google Analytics is an amazing tracking tool that helps in tracking your site metrics. It also enables you to understand the inner-workings of your website. With the help of this tool, you can get a quick insight into your site activity. By gaining the helpful data (bounce rate, session volume and average time spent on a page), you will get an accurate assessment of users positive and negative behavior.

  • Highlight What Makes You Different:

In order to highlight your website, the most important thing you need to do are strategic messaging and content hierarchy. If you want to position your brand for the first time online, you’ll need further validation. Many companies, who have a minimal presence online, try to introduce and validate their brand. You may have seen cases where businesses have a high volume of product content and brand image. In doing this it is difficult to showcase and distinguish your business from others with only the strategic messaging and content. Here is where the importance of a value proposition page lies. It helps the users to discover and engage in key content quickly. This page can also be used as a marketing landing page for social media campaigns and SEM, in order to link users to valuable content.

These tactics will help businesses to optimize their presence online. You can simply try it to get the best online experience. Begin with these approaches today to create an even more effective B2B site for the future of your brand.

WordPress Vs. Drupal: Which Content Management System Is Right For You?

If you are building a website or a blog, the most crucial decision that you make is choosing a content management system. As we know, content is king in the digital world. Thus, content creation and modification are prime factors in making your website or blog a success. A content management system offers many advantages like control over content publishing, visibility and supporting multiple users. Content management systems, or CMS, are extremely beneficial,  especially because they need very little to no prior experience in programming. Consequently, performing administrative tasks is made easier.

Out of all the CMS platforms offering a wide array of features, WordPress and Drupal are powerful platforms. The ease with which they provide their users with customization and content updating processes makes both WordPress and Drupal popular and widely used platforms. If you are out there searching for the right CMS platform for yourself and are confused about which one of the top two you should choose, then keep reading!

WordPress

Although it started as a blogging platform, WordPress has come a long way and become a full-blown site framework.  It is powered by AJAX, PHP, HTML, CSS, JavaScript and plenty of plugins, widgets, and themes. You have access to help from skilled developers in WordPress for theme customization, complex builds and setups and installation. The developers will ensure that your site is always installed with the latest updates. There are many advanced custom plug-ins available if you choose WordPress. Walt Disney Co., the LinkedIn blog, TechCrunch and BBC America are some of the popular sites that are powered by WordPress.

Drupal

Drupal refers to itself as a “content management framework” and is a very powerful CMS platform. It allows the user to launch, scale and manage websites and applications.  Drupal is the perfect fit for ambitious and larger projects. Powered by PHP, it requires no programming experience to set-up functionalities at lower levels. There are some extended features that include blogging, contact forums, forums and other types of community-style features. These features are an elaboration of Drupal’s core package but need the assistance of Drupal developers.  The Economist, Weather.com, some of the US government’s websites and NFL team’s websites are some sites that are powered by Drupal.

WordPress Vs. Drupal

Although there are many similarities between WordPress and Drupal in terms of features, responsiveness, SEO, and APIs, they do have certain differences which you need to consider.

Complex build

WordPress is easier to learn and use, while Drupal, on the other hand, is complex and might take longer to get used to. This complex build of Drupal makes it perfect for larger level projects.

Updates

WordPress updates are released every few months and the code is easily upgradable. The upgrade takes place in the background and that can be a useful feature if you are not a developer. WordPress plugins do not need frequent updates.

Drupal makes comprehensive updates and might be labor intensive as they are not code based. You will have to redesign your website for a particular update. This can be difficult if you are not a developer.

Security of plugins

Drupal is famous for its security which can be a valuable feature for enterprises or government sites. On the other hand, security is offered by a third party in WordPress, and your site is vulnerable to hacking attacks if you do not update regularly.

Make a List and Ask Some Questions

Before you finalize a platform, you need to make a list of your needs. If you are clear about what you want, making a decision will be easier.  Ask yourself the following questions:

What Kind of Website or Application are You Building?

Think how you want your site to perform. Is your site going to be a complex site with many pages and will it be getting a high volume of traffic? This will help you to decide which one of the two websites will suit your needs.

Budget

This is one of the crucial factors as well. The budget may vary, and the development of the site on Drupal can be more expensive than with WordPress.

Users, Templates, and Security

You must think how many users will access the site. Users need user permission and WordPress allows adding users with standard roles and permissions. When you are choosing a CMS you must ask yourself how many different templates you might need to match the different types of content you might have on your site. If your site is more complex and you need different templates, Drupal’s robust features might be suitable for you. Security is an important aspect that you will have to consider, especially, if your website is an enterprise level website.

In conclusion, WordPress is technically easier and Drupal, though more complex, offers amazing features. You can choose which CMS platform to use based on the needs of your project.

Is Your WordPress Site Vulnerable?

WordPress is a very popular and free open source Content Management System (CMS) based on PHP and MySQL. As per W3Techs Web Technology Surveys, 58.5% of all the websites having low traffic uses WordPress as their Content Management System (CMS).
Recently, a major vulnerability was discovered which could have resulted in a mass compromise of a majority of WordPress websites (27.2% of the entire WWW). This vulnerability was reported by Wordfence which regularly looks for security vulnerabilities in the third party plugins and themes that are used by WordPress community including examining WordPress core and related wordpress.org systems.
Every WordPress website makes a request to the WordPress API Servers (api.wordpress.org) once an hour to check for the plugin, theme or WordPress core updates. By default, the auto-update in WordPress is enabled and following are the type of automatic background updates available:
Core updates
Plugin updates
Theme updates
Translation file updates

If this server is compromised, hackers can supply their own URL to download and install software to WordPress websites automatically and thus providing a way to mass-compromise through the auto-update mechanism. Furthermore, as WordPress do not provide any signature verification of the software being installed and will always trust any URL or any package supplied by api.wordpress.org, there is always a high possibility of this type of compromise.

The vulnerability discovered was a remote code execution (RCE) vulnerability and it was found in an open-source PHP Webhook which Github uses to contact api.wordpress.org. The main purpose of this webhook is to allow WordPress core developers to sync their codes to http://wordpress.org SVN repository and use Github as their source code repository. When a change is committed to Github, it reaches out and contacts this webhook to activate a process of pulling down the latest codes added to Github. Now the main issue with this webhook was that it allows developers to supply their own hashing algorithm to verify that the code updates are authorized. There are a lot of non-cryptographically secure hashing algorithms like crc32, adler32 which are just fast checksums, generates a 32-bit hash, specially designed for catching data transmission errors only and do not provide any cryptographic security at all. Out of these, when adler32 (which is weak for short messages) is used in combination with PHP’s hash_hmac function, it severely limits the number of possible hashes and creates significant non-uniformity in hash space. This ultimately results in the creation of a weak hashing algorithm which can be tested with randomly generated keys to reducing the number of guesses and requests. Also, the hackers can use it as a brute force attack on the webhook without even triggering the WordPress’s security systems.

Although this vulnerability was quickly fixed by the WordPress team, api.wordpress.org still remains the single point of failure (SPOF) when distributing WordPress core, plugins, and theme updates and there can be more vulnerabilities which are yet to be discovered.

So, now the important question is “Should we completely disable the automatic update until a more secure system is deployed by WordPress?”. This is not at all recommended and the default auto-update feature should be always kept enabled because if there is a new severe vulnerability in WordPress core or a theme or plugin, you will benefit from an auto-update fix which will be pushed out of WordPress.

How to Secure Your Website Using WordPress Plugins

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Like any other content management system or CMS, WordPress websites are also vulnerable to cyber attacks, data breaches, and hacking. However, the good news is that WordPress takes this issue very seriously. Not only does it constantly strive to fortify its software, but it develops new plugins regularly to help you secure your website. This is why; each time you receive a notification from WordPress saying that there are new updates available, make sure you download and upgrade your website to keep it protected. You can also choose to set up automatic upgrades. Here are a few other pointers to keep in mind to ensure the safety of your WordPress site.

Restrict the Number of Plugins and Customizations

Considering that WordPress has a mind boggling selection of plugins and add-ons, you might want to add as many as you can to your website. However, the more plugins you have, the more vulnerable is your website. Hackers can access your admin and personal information by way of the plugins you’ve got installed. This is why; it is essential that you install only those plugins that you absolutely need and delete the others. In addition to posing a security threat, too many plugins also result in longer loading times.

Update Your Plugins Regularly

Aside from updates to your WordPress site, you’ll also receive notifications of the updates for your plugins. Make sure you update them since each upgrade is designed to make your site more secure. Like automatic upgrades for your website, you can also set up automated upgrades for the plugins. Check for the plugins you’re not using and remove them. Remember that simply deactivating a plugin is not enough. You must make sure to delete it. The logic behind this point is simple. If you’re not using a plugin, you’re not likely to bother upgrading it. And, each outdated tool presents a serious security risk.

Verify the Sources Carefully

When choosing the plugins for your website, whether free for use or paid for, make sure you download them only from reputable sources like Themeforest, WordPress or any others. Plugins from such sources are likely to be carefully scanned before they are added to the Plugin Directory or Theme Directory. You can be assured that they are safe to use and that you’ll receive the necessary updates to keep them protected. You might find certain sites that allow you to download premium plugins free of cost. Be wary of such sites since they can have malicious code that can corrupt your website. In addition, you might not be able to secure these plugins.

Choose Secure Passwords

Select a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols that are difficult for hackers to decipher. You also have the option of creating strong passwords using tools like the Strong Password Generator or Norton Password Generator. Make note of the chosen password in a safe place, preferably in writing where you can refer to it if you need to. Change the password from time to time to stay one step ahead of data breaching tools.

In case you have writers and other users working on your WordPress site, have them also change their passwords regularly. A better bet is to restrict the number of users that have access to your site and give out passwords to trusted personnel only. You also have the option of allowing them a limited number of accesses to complete the task you assign to them.

Protect Yourself From Brute Force Attacks

Hackers use a strategy called brute force to get into your website. They try to login repeatedly until they crack the password. To protect yourself, you can install a plugin that identifies the IP address being used to login to your website. It limits the number of times the user can try to login within a fixed time period. Another very useful tool to protect your site from such attacks is to add a two-step authentication code. Users will need to add not just the password but also the authentication code that is sent to their phone via SMS.

Create Backups for Your Website

Set up a backing up schedule and create a saved version of your website regularly. In case your site is compromised, you always have the option of reverting to the saved version. You have the option of installing a plugin that can automatically takes care of this task for you. You’ll only have to hit the hit the restore button to have your website back up and running.

Install Scanners for WordPress

You might have scanners on your computer to check for viruses and malware. You can now find security scanners online that check your WordPress site, its core files, themes, and plugins for malware and malicious code. Install this plugin to keep your website protected.

Record Activity on Your Dashboard

While WordPress records all activity on your website in a log, you have the option of getting a more efficient plugin to track your dashboard. In addition to tracking what the users on your website are doing, you can also spot the actions of hackers, if any. Many a time, certain files and plugins you install can change other files and how they perform. If case a file causes errors on your website, you can use this plugin to pinpoint the exact cause of the break and fix the problem. You can also find the source of any malware entering your site.

Change Your Login Page

Once you have your website running, you can install a security plugin that changes the name or location of your login page. No amount of automated brute force attacks aimed at deciphering your password can be successful. You can use this plugin to hide your WordPress Admin page and the important plugins you’ve installed.

These are some of the most important plugins you can use to secure your website. However, to get additional protection, you can make use of tools like installing a firewall and hiding the names of the authors that post on your site. You must also choose a hosting platform that can give you the best protection possible including keeping your website segregated from the others it may be hosting. As a final precaution, make sure you keep your computer upgraded with the newest software and operating systems that are better equipped to deal with security breaches.

 

 

How to Optimize the Speed of Your WordPress Website

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Given the fast pace at which the world today operates, you need a website that loads quickly and allows users to search through it seamlessly for the products, services, and information they need. Any delays in the loading time and they are very likely to move on other sites that load faster. You not only lose visitors, but you also lose potential customers. Take care that slow loading sites don’t rank very well with search engines either. Considering all these factors, it is absolutely imperative that you enhance the loading capability of your website. By using a few very handy plugins, you can make that happen. Here’s how.

Pick Out a Simple WordPress Theme

The more elaborate WordPress themes you choose, the longer they will take to load. That’s because they include many files and functions that are linked to each other. Check carefully and you’ll realize that they have features that you’re not using currently. A better option is to look for a theme with simplistic, but sophisticated coding that loads quickly. WordPress has certain criteria that theme developers must meet when they submit their themes for approval. One of them is great coding that allows the theme to load almost instantly.

Lower the Number of HTTP Requests

Websites that have a larger number of elements take longer to load. For instance, the scripts, stylesheets, images, Flash and other components on your website each have an individual HTTP request made for them. If you can lower the number of requests, you can increase the loading speed. Move the scripts to the bottom of the page and reduce them. Try including CSS in place of images and combine the many styling sheets into a single one. Using simple methods like these can improve how your site performs.

Consider Getting a Caching Plugin

A section of the computer or the cache is allocated for saving recent data that the owner has used. Without your knowing it, computers save and delete information out of this cache. You can install a caching plugin in your WordPress site and use this functionality to your advantage. This plugin allows computers to access the local cache and load the data out of it so your site does not need to reload fully every time the user visits it, thus reducing loading times. If you’re not quite sure how to use it, opt for the managed WordPress hosting service that takes care of the caching for you – DreamPress. It can host and organize your website for you and has many other features that help streamline its functioning.

Compress Your Files

When you’re trying to present high-quality content to your users, you end up creating large files that are typically over 100kb. Such files become slow to load because of their size. But, if you can compress them, you can reduce the bandwidth of the files that in turn, reduces the HTTP response time. Choose an effective internet tool to help you with this technique. For instance, Gzip, which is a great option given that 90% of the traffic on the internet moves through browsers that support this tool. It will interest you to know that using this strategy can lower the loading time of your website by up to 70%.

Check the Optimization of Your Images

Images make your page attractive and break up the wall of of text to make the content more user friendly. The trouble with them is that they are bulky and take long to download. A good option is to compress them to the right size without compromising on the resolution by using several online plugins. Make sure you optimize them on your computer before uploading them to your WordPress media gallery. Yet another tactic is to use a plugin that prevents those images from loading that are not yet visible on the page. As a result, the image comes into view only after the reader scrolls down to its position. In this way, the plugin eliminates the loading time of the sections of the page that the reader might choose not to view. Disable Unnecessary Pingbacks & Trackbacks Pingbacks and trackbacks were useful tools that helped you with notifications when an external blog created a link to your website. You’ll see them as comments that you can choose to approve and create a link of your own to that site. However, they can also be used by spammers to use your site to raise their own rankings and effectively lower your website’s loading time. Check the “Settings” tab and find the section, “Discussion.” You can turn them off here.

Working with Redirects

Redirects can lower your site’s loading times because of the extra HTTP requests they create. However, you need them to guide mobile users landing on your main page to the responsive version. You have two ways of ensuring that the redirect works without slowing down your website. You can use a HTTP redirect that sends mobile devices to an equivalent URL that has been created for such devices without any intermediary redirects. Or, you can include a markup like the <link rel=”alternate”> in your website pages. It will direct the Googlebot to find your mobile pages by identifying the mobile equivalent URL.

Test Your Speed Regularly

Despite taking the best steps to ensure the quick loading time of your website, you must make it a point to recheck from time to time. Choose from the many online tools and plugins that help you. For instance, you can use the PageSpeed Insights from Google. It evaluates your site and assigns it a grade from 1 to 100. You’ll also receive directions on how you can enhance your grade. Or, try the Plugin Performance Profiler, also called P3. It creates a pie chart so you can assess which of your plugins are taking longer to load. Accordingly, you can pick out the ones you absolutely need and remove the others. Using these many tools and plugins, you can take the necessary steps to optimize your website to shorten the loading times, streamline the browsing experience, and increase traffic on your website.

Must have WordPress Plugins for Marketers

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One of the best content managing systems out there, WordPress offers users around 41,000 plugins. Seeing the amazing amount of features you can use, it is tempting to include as many as you can when developing your website. However, you must take care that installing too many plugins can slow the loading time of your site. If you want to offer your customers quicker loading times and better responsiveness, it is advisable that you pick and choose only the best of plugins that you absolutely need. Here are some of the must-have features you could opt for and what they can do for your website.

Just Writing

WordPress understands that writing takes concentration, but at the same time, the correct formatting can make the difference in how your site ranks on Google sites. Just Writing includes DFWM, acronym for Distraction-Free Writing Mode. Using this plugin, you won’t have to keep checking if you’re getting the formatting right. In addition, it helps by checking your spelling and styling paragraphs for posts that are easy to read and attractive to the eye.

https://wordpress.org/plugins/just-writing/

Jetpack

This neat little package includes many advanced features like mobile themes for compatibility with phones, tablets and other mobile devices, analytics, content tools, and so much more. Further, you have the option of selecting the tools that suit the specific needs of your business. Improve the presentation of your website by using this awesome plugin.

https://wordpress.org/plugins/jetpack/

Google XML Sitemaps

A great website is one that allows search engines like, Google, Bing, Yahoo, and others to crawl through it and access the information you’ve posted without any snags. You can use the Google XML Sitemaps tool to index your blog and develop an XML sitemap. Each time you create a new post and publish fresh content, this plugin will inform search engines.

https://wordpress.org/plugins/google-sitemap-generator/

Leadin

For good business, you’ll want that visitors landing on your website should convert into potential leads and then, customers. You can use Leadin to help you automatically track your visitor’s movement through the site. A great marketing tool, it can help you make the necessary changes in your website so you can make the surfing experience more streamlined and enjoyable. Once you have a conversion, the plugin records the contact details and visitor history for further use.

https://wordpress.org/plugins/leadin/

OptinMonster

As an entrepreneur looking to market your products and services, you’ll need to grow your email list quickly. This plugin offers you a range of self-styled templates that you can use to create optin forms, popups, sidebar forms, and slide-ins, among others. Perhaps, the best advantage of this plugin is that you can integrate it with email marketing providers like Campaign Monitor, Constant Contact, AWeber, MailChimp, Infusionsoft, HubSpot, and Active Campaign, to name a scarce few. Use them to make conversions out of the visitors on your site.

https://wordpress.org/plugins/optinmonster/

FD Word Statistics

When writing and publishing posts, you plan for them to reach a wide population demographic. Each time you write a post, you can use this plugin to evaluate the post and check how easy it is to read and understand. The FD Word Statistics includes the Flesch-Kincaid and Gunning Fog formulas to check the level of education your post will best appeal to. Use shorter sentences and simple phrases to appeal of readers of all ages and even those with language constraints.

https://wordpress.org/plugins/word-statistics-plugin/

W3 Total Cache

You’ll want that visitors landing on your site should have a streamlined experience and find what they’re looking for quickly. The W3 Total Cache improves how well your website performs by enhancing server performance, and lowering download times. It also provides CDN integration among other features.

https://wordpress.org/plugins/w3-total-cache/

Broken Link Checker

An important part of SEO is adding links in your posts so that readers can jump from one post to another and continue to find the information and related posts that interest them. The Broken Link Checker scans through your posts, and picks out the ineffective links. You’ll receive a notification as the plugin identifies the links that don’t work and lists them on a single page. You can edit the links on this page without having to manually check through every post and repair each link. Given that, broken links score low on the search engine rankings; this plugin makes a very valuable tool.

https://wordpress.org/plugins/broken-link-checker/

Yoast SEO

Every successful internet marketer is well aware of the importance of inserting the proper key phrases and keywords into their posts so that search engines can find them easily. Yoast helps you choose the optimum keywords before you begin writing content. It even directs you on the right placing like for example in the headings and the first few lines of the introduction. Make sure you write the perfect Meta Description and Meta Title with the help of this plugin. You can ensure that you’ll attract the right visitors to your website. In addition, Yoast also offers you API documents, RSS enhancements, XML sitemaps, Permalink cleanup, Breadcrumbs, and Robots Meta configuration, among other features.

https://wordpress.org/plugins/wordpress-seo/

Google Analytics by Yoast

The Google Analytics by Yoast allows you to track how well your posts, blogs, and articles are performing on the search engine pages directly from WordPress. Marketers that conduct in-depth reporting find this plugin very useful thanks to the added data for error pages and search result pages.

https://wordpress.org/plugins/google-analytics-for-wordpress/

Proofread Bot

Errors, spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and even incorrect punctuation take away from the reader experience. Many writers assume that readers are not likely to notice typos and errors. However, errors reduce the quality of the posts and bring down the credibility of the site. The Proofread Bot helps by picking out the errors so you can correct them. Considering the importance of plagiarism-free content, this plugin runs your work through the proper checks so you can eliminate copied content before posting.

https://wordpress.org/plugins/proofread-bot/

Revive Old Post

By sharing your posts on social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and many others, you can extend the reach of the posts to a wider audience. Once called Tweet Old Post, this plugin is extremely easy to use and allows you to manage the many accounts you have, set up posting dates in advance and use visual content. Once a piece of content is published, it automatically becomes visible on all your social media pages.

https://wordpress.org/plugins/tweet-old-post/

Title Experiments

An interesting title can instantly evoke curiosity in the mind of the readers and encourage them to read the content. In addition, a smart title must inform the reader about what information it contains without giving too much away. You can use Title Experiments to run the titles through instant A/B tests that will tell you which title is more effective and likely to have more clickthrough rates.

https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-experiments-free/

Akismet

While readers are free to read your posts and comment on them, you need to monitor the comments being posted. If you find misleading links and spam, it is important that you clear them right away. The Akismet plugin alerts you to such comments by automatically checking and identifying them for correctional action.

https://wordpress.org/plugins/akismet/

Editorial Calendar

When you have multiple writers submitting posts for publishing, you need a tool to track the posts, check and make changes in the titles, manage drafts, and schedule publishing dates and times. The Editorial Calendar gives you a clear view of the posts by way of a drop-and-drop feature that can help you organize the content you wish to post.

https://wordpress.org/plugins/editorial-calendar/

Click to Tweet

Each time readers come across an interesting piece of information such as a statistic, how-to tip, news item, or even, a quote, they’ll want to share it. If you can place a Click to Tweet box close by, readers can simply click on it and instantly, you raise the reach of your post. The Click to Tweet plugin allows you to do just that. The more readers you can engage and reach, the higher is the traffic on your website.

https://wordpress.org/plugins/click-to-tweet-by-todaymade/

These are some of the top plugins you can choose for your website. They are extremely useful to help you manage your website and do wonders to make the visitor experience streamlined and navigable. Use them to enhance the presentation power of your website and attract more visitors to it.

26% of the Web Runs on WordPress

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WordPress is known the world over for being the best content management system. New reports show that an astounding 26% or a fourth of the total websites around the world use WordPress to power their sites. Its competitors lag far behind with Joomla and Drupal capturing a scarce five percent of all the websites on the internet. And, that’s not all. In the coming years, WordPress is all set to grow even more. Are these reports really accurate? Let’s find out.

W3Techs

W3Techs is an organization that studies the technologies different websites use by evaluating their market share and usage. It uses a very systematic and detailed procedure to assess them. Not only does it study entire websites but also any page using a particular technology is considered as using the content management system. W3Techs also takes care to carefully exclude the possible impact of spammers. Instead of scanning the entire web, researchers have chosen to study only the top 10 million websites. These websites have been chosen according to the popularity grading evaluated by Alexa in which the performance of websites over three months has been averaged.
To further ensure that the results of the study are accurate, W3Techs has chosen to omit sub domains and count the sub domains of wordpress.com as a single website. The company also eliminates redirected domains. For instance, since Sun.com directs users to Oracle.com, it is excluded from the study. Finally, it has different criteria for categorizing websites as such and this is why the actual number of websites it has studied number less than 10 million. Matthias Gelbmann at W3Techs estimates that in the coming years WordPress is likely to dominate more of the entire web. It will further amaze you to know that the latest figures collected on June 27 2016 show that WordPress controls 26.5% of the websites in the world.

How WordPress Compares

Considering the many websites that are opting to move to WordPress from their existing content management systems, it is startling to see that users are moving over from Blogger, Drupal, and Joomla. They are also choosing to use plugins like Shopify, Squarespace, and Magento, which is even more interesting. Reports also note that one site in the top 10 million bracket adopts WordPress every 74 seconds. In addition, the second fastest growing content management system gains a fresh website every 22 minutes.

Future Prospects

WordPress is all set to gain new heights of popularity. This is because there are at least 57% websites that are not using any particular content management system. Given the ease of usage of WordPress, the possibility of them adopting it or some of the other open source systems is immense as Matt Mullenweg, founder of Automattic opines. While there have been slight variations in the growth numbers from month to month, the overall impact of WordPress seems to be rising over the years.

Courtesy: W3Techs

Courtesy: W3Techs

Findings of CodeGuard

W3Tech is not the only organization to recognize WordPress as the leader in content management systems. CodeGuard is an online security company that supervises small businesses. It reports that the 250,000 or so small businesses that have websites have managed to earn a market share of 79% thanks to their usage of WordPress.

Because of its awesome popularity and the fact that it is capturing the lion’s share of the business across the world, WordPress has become the target of cyber attacks. It has also had to deal with some security problems that it is doing its best to overcome. Users need only to download the latest versions of WordPress to ensure the safety of their websites. Developments like these indicate that WordPress is committed to offering the best of content management systems to websites all over the world.

Moving forward, one can expect that in the upcoming years, WordPress is poised to become the one-stop solution for the marketing requirements of businesses anywhere and everywhere in the world.

How to Choose the Best Theme for Your WordPress Website

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WordPress has a mind-boggling collection of themes. Some of these themes are free to use while others are premium and need you to pay for downloading them. Given that the source is open, you can customize the theme you download to match the particular requirements of your business. Added to that is the amazing number of plugins that you can download and install. With innumerable options to choose from, it’s understandable that you may not know where to begin. A simple solution is to list the important criteria and take it from there. Here are some of the most important features a good theme must absolutely have.

Browser Supportive

The theme you choose should make it simple for users to access irrespective of the particular browser they’re using. For instance, they could be using Bing, Google, Firefox, Yahoo, Internet Explorer, Safari, or any other. Take care that the theme is compatible with universal browsers.

Responsiveness

Whether a smart SEO strategy or simple common sense, considering that more and more users opt to surf the internet using mobile devices, you need a theme that adapts to any device. It could be a mobile phone, tablet, laptop, or a desktop computer. To test if a theme works on all gadgets, resize the screen of your browser. The page should automatically adjust to display all the elements. That’s a clear indicator that the theme will work well on any sized screen.

User Support

Should you choose a free theme, find out before hand if the developer offers support. In case there are issues with the theme, you’ll need support to sort through them or you could end up having to hire a technician for help. Premium themes not only come with developer support, but they’re likely to have community support also. Each time you face a problem, you’ll only have to type the question into the search bar of your browser. Instantly, you’ll get access to many different sites, forums, and community pages directing you on how to fix the issue. Perhaps, the best advantage of a premium theme is that you’ll receive updates on the upgrades available. By downloading them, you can keep your website up to date with the latest happenings on the internet.

Simplicity

WordPress themes can have complicated designs with lots of different functionalities, layouts, images, videos, and animations. While it is tempting to get the flashiest of themes, focus on the user experience. Customers landing on your site should find it easy to navigate and locate the information they are looking for, quickly and seamlessly. Make sure the page has enough white space and is free of clutter. The simpler you keep the site, the more user-friendly it will be. This is why; you must take care to choose a simple theme that has only the most essential functionalities that support your business.

Optimization for Search Engines

In a time when good SEO is absolutely vital for the success of your business, your website must have the ideal coding. Bad coding can affect how your site performs with search engines. Since most entrepreneurs don’t know how to sort through coding to check for flaws, a better option is to choose a theme from a reliable source. Keep in mind that premium theme developers inform you beforehand whether or not the theme is compatible with search engines. Make your choice accordingly.

Originality

When you opt for free to use themes, you might have to deal with the possibility that lots of other people have also opted to use the same theme. This factor could take away from the exclusivity factor and make your website look similar to many others. If having a unique design is important to you, choose a premium theme that fewer people are likely to opt for.

Cost Factor

Cost is always the underlying factor to keep in mind when choosing the theme for your website. Premium themes can cost you anywhere from $50 to $200. Figure out the expense you’re willing to take on for creating your site and choose the right theme accordingly. Keep in mind that many premium themes have a lot of features and functionalities that you may not use anyway. Besides, they come with a range of customizations that you might find difficult to understand. Try and create a balance between the cost and the features that you absolutely need.

Speedy Loading

Here’s another case for simplicity. The more features you add in such as large images, videos, animations, etc., the longer your website will take to load. This is why, it makes sense to choose a theme that has a simple design that loads quickly and the user can access without too much waiting time. Further, keep in mind that search engines are more likely to pick up sites that will load quickly to streamline the user experience. You can even test to see how long a particular theme will take to load. Many apps on the internet allow you to test them. Enter the URL of the demo version of the theme into the app. It will show you the time taken and the number of HTTP requests made.

Social Media Compatibility

This feature is self-explanatory. You absolutely need your website to have the necessary buttons for users to use to share the interesting information they find on your site. One of the most useful plugins you can find is one that creates a social media sharing bar and places it beside the content the users are reading. As the readers scroll down, the bar follows making it possible for them to share the page without reaching the end. Social media compatibility is also essential because you need readers to like the pages and you want to encourage comments, engagement, and interaction.

Security Factor

In a time when hackers work with advanced data breaching tools to get into websites, you cannot do enough to secure your site. Choose a theme that comes with automatic security features and get a few plugins to reinforce it. If you’re not sure which are the most effective ones, you can always check online for what other users have to say about the plugins they have downloaded and used.

Check Reviews

While on the subject of reviews, the best way to gauge whether a particular theme is the right one for you is to check the reviews. Read about what other users have to say about their experiences with using a particular theme and the success they have had with it. Study the downsides they talk about and see if you can overcome them on your own or with the minimum of technical support. Here’s another tip. Look for the administration dashboard of a theme in the demo version that the developer provides. See if you can customize it to meet your requirements before making your choice.

These are some of the very basic factors to keep in mind when choosing the best theme for your WordPress site. Whether you choose a free to use theme or buy one, its success ultimately depends on how you use it to provide your customers with a great browsing experience.

WordPress SEO Tips for Your Agency

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SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the strategy you use to make it easy for search engines crawling the web to find your site and understand the information it contains. When users type a specific question into the search bar, they are looking for answers to a particular problem they face. Or, they could be looking for a specific product or service they need. Search engines match these requests with the information available on the internet and list the websites so users can find what they need.

The keywords and key phrases that you infuse into your website and the content you post tells the engines what your site is all about so they may pick it up. Considering that users are most likely to click on only the first few sites that come up, it becomes extremely important that your website make it to the front page. And, the proper SEO strategies can make that happen. Here’s how:

Meta Titles and Meta Descriptions

The SEO plugins like Yoast that you have installed will likely direct you to add the meta title and meta description of every page. Search engines pick up this information and place it on their result pages. Make sure you adhere to the required number of characters. You can cross the limit, but the additional letters you add will not be displayed on the result page. The meta description appears below the meta title and gives your readers a preview of the information on your page. Keep it concise and make sure you add the target keyword in it. At the same time, it should be interesting enough for the user to want to click on it and explore. Remember, Google will most likely highlight the keyword for users.

Optimize the Images with Alt Text

Each time you add an image to a post or a page, add the alt text. An alt text describes what the image is and how it connects to the post. When search engines look for images, they identify them by the alt text. This title must describe the image and connect it with the product or service you’re selling. You can also try and add the keyword in the alt text. Only make sure this tag is between 2 to 5 words in length.

Add Links to Authoritative Sites

When you write posts, articles, blogs, and other web content, you’ll certainly take information from high authority sites so your readers can rely on you for accurate data. A good SEO strategy is to let your readers verify the claims you’re making by adding links to the websites where you sourced the information. Search engines pick up the high authority links you’ve added and consider them a positive factor to present to users. This strategy helps your website rank well with on search page results.

Focus on Loading Speed

Aside from focusing on the keywords and key phrases on your site, search engines also choose sites that are likely to perform well and have quick loading times. In this way, they ensure that users have a streamlined surfing experience. To ensure that your site loads quickly, you can make use of the Google PageSpeed Insights tool. It will help you with directions on the best ways to enhance how your website performs. In addition, you can choose plugins that create local caches and compress your files so that they take up less bandwidth. Choose simpler themes and lower the number of elements on your page so that they load faster.

Present Fresh Content Regularly

Make it a point to add new content on your website at fixed intervals. Fresh blogs and articles that are relevant to current times are most likely to be picked up by search engines. You can also go back and publish updates on the existing pages. Search engines and spiders are always on the lookout for new information and the more often they visit your page, the better will be your rankings and the trust you generate through them.

Work on the Responsiveness Factor

Given that more and more users opt to use their mobile devices to search the web, engines are most likely to pick up sites that respond quickly to such organic searches. Your best bet is to run your site through Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. It will help you identify the changes in the settings you need to make so that your site is more mobile friendly.

Set up the Appropriate 301 Redirects

Each time you move a page, search engines consider it a fresh page and list the old page with a 404 page not found error message. This response can adversely affect your website rankings and you lose business in the process. Your ranking equity is the social media shares your website earns, the accumulated authority pages from backlinks and the time users spend on your page. By moving your page, you also stand to lose this equity. When you set up a 301 redirect, it informs the search engine that it is the same page as the old one. You maintain the painstakingly gained equity and users are automatically directed to the new page seamlessly.

In Conclusion

You can choose the best of themes for your website and install all the functionalities that can help you attract readers and their business. But, even the best of window dressing will not do you any good if you don’t have visitors and prospective buyers dropping by. To make sure they find your website, you absolutely need to adopt the best of SEO strategies. WordPress has an amazing range of tools and plugins that can help you with your efforts. And, as search engine algorithms evolve, you’ll find newer and better plugins in the directories. Be sure to use them and you can guarantee the success of your website and business.

WordPress Mistakes Your Agency Should Avoid

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WordPress is an excellent platform for creating your website and is trusted by companies all over the world. However, as when using any other content management systems, there are certain dos and don’ts to keep in mind. Keep these possible errors in mind, and you should be able to use this very potent tool optimally. Here’s how.

Ignoring Update Alerts

WordPress is constantly evolving and creating better versions of the themes and plugins they have. These upgrades are designed to keep your website compatible with ever-changing search engine algorithms and to protect them from newer and better-equipped data breaching tools. They also have better features to streamline and enhance the user surfing experience.

Each time WordPress develops an upgrade, you’ll receive the necessary notification. Take care to update the themes and plugins you have. Doing so will help you keep pace with the latest developments on the internet. At the same time, it is advisable to have a backup file in place. In case you feel you’re not too happy with some of the new features or if they are making undesirable changes in your website, you can always revert to the saved version.

Not Having a Local Cache in Place

The importance of quick loading times for your website cannot be stressed enough. You need your website to load quickly as an important SEO strategy. This is because search engines now are more likely to pick up sites that have shorter response times. To make this happen, install a WordPress supported plugin that creates a local cache and maintains the loading speed irrespective of the volume of traffic on your site.

Not Creating Backups

On the subject of backups, despite your best efforts, you might face a situation where a hacker gets into your site or a virus or some malware enters your site causing a break. To help counter this problem, you must create backups of your files from time to time. Whenever needed, you can restore the functioning of your website with the click of a button.

Not Having a Strong Password

Downloading and installing your WordPress site is an extremely simple process. One of the steps of the setup includes the generation of a default administrator account under the name of “admin.” Hackers using brute force attacks to access your account find it very easy to decipher a password that has “admin” in it. To protect your site, make sure you change the password right after you’re done with the installation process. Choose a combination of letters, symbols, and numbers that are make it hard for a hacker to figure out. Yet another part of the setup creates a default database prefix “wp_” Hackers can use it access your options files. Make sure you change this prefix also.

Not Creating an Identifying Icon

Right after your website goes live; make sure you create an identifying icon for the site and your company. Icons make businesses and websites recognizable for users and help you develop your brand. Skip this important step and you lose out on an important marketing strategy.

Not Securing Your Website

While WordPress has automatic security measures embedded in it, you can take a few added steps to protect you website. For starters, make sure to limit the number of login attempts. Hackers make repeated attempts using different passwords to access your site. You can deter these attempts by way of a plugin. This plugin identifies the IP address being used to login and blocks the user after a specific number of attempts for a particular time period.

Hackers can steal the session cookies and trick the system into thinking it is you who’s logging in. Make sure you include salts and keys in your config file to prevent this from happening. Yet another security monitoring plugin helps prevent brute force attacks and sends you an alert when it detects threatening activity.

Not Monitoring Comments

Allowing users to comment on your blogs and articles is good for SEO and building a connection with your customers. You can respond to queries and concerns and understand what they’re expecting from your company, and products and services. However, spam comments can damage the reputation you’ve built and affect how your site performs. This is why; it is very essential that you carefully monitor the comments you receive even if it means devoting precious time to the task. You’ll also have to take care to sort through the comments and make sure to respond to the genuine ones. While you could choose to disable comments, doing so will result in your losing customer engagement.

Not Altering the Default Permalinks

Each time you create a page or a post, WordPress creates a permalink or address for it. For instance, you might see a link like this: www.abcdefgih.com/?p=4234567. Not only is the link difficult for users to understand, but such links don’t perform very well with search engines. Make sure you alter the permalink and add a series of words that indicate what the post is all about. Adding the keyword or key phrase in the permalink is also good for SEO.

Adding Unnecessary Tags and Categories

One of the many features of your WordPress site is the option of adding tags and categories to your posts and blogs. However, using too many of these categories and actually have an adverse effect on how your site performs and makes navigation confusing. Avoid adding more than the absolutely essential tags.

Creating Posts in Microsoft Word

Since you’re so habituated to creating documents using Microsoft tools, you probably create the blogs and articles on a Word page and then use copy-paste to add them into your WordPress page. However, doing this adds many strange characters into the post and this is bad for SEO. If you really must use Microsoft Word, save the document in the Plain Text format and copy it from there. In this way, you’ll be able to avoid possible coding errors.

Not Compressing Image Files

Image files are typically too large and take up too much bandwidth when the page loads. To shorten loading time, make sure you compress the files before you add them. You can find many plugins and other simple tools on the internet to help you compress the files to the desired size without compromising on the resolution.

These are some of the most common errors you can avoid when creating and uploading your WordPress website. There is one more basic error that all users must absolutely avoid and that is not using a trusted provider or a bad source for the WordPress themes. Be sure to download the themes you like from an authorized site like www.WordPress.org. By doing so, you’ll be avoiding the possibility of dealing with bad coding, malware, malicious links, and errors that can affect the performance of your website.

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