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  • How to Take a Vacation from Your Online Business

    Friday, April 28, 2017 by
    Take Vacation from Online Business One of the perks you’re supposed to enjoy when you’re self-employed is the freedom to take time off when you need it. The reality is that for solopreneurs and small business owners, the cultural pressure to keep working is magnified by the fact that you’re ultimately responsible for everything. Americans are famously “under-vacationed,” with less than half of employees taking all the days they’re given. However, you definitely need time to rest and replenish your creative thinking and problem solving skills. Here’s how to make those breaks happen. HostGator Website Builder  

    Why business owners need to take regular breaks

    Whether your idea of a great vacation is umbrella drinks at a tropical resort or backpack camping in the wilderness, no one needs to convince you that vacations are fun. If fun isn’t a good enough reason for you, here are some other benefits of getting away.  

    Vacations are good for your health

    Researchers and health experts have studied the effects of vacations on wellbeing for decades. Among the findings: vacations reduce blood pressure and stress-hormone levels, can be a factor in preventing heart disease, and can help reset unhealthy sleep patterns. The more frequent and regular study subjects’ vacations were, the stronger the health benefits. Considering the stresses of running a business, these are valuable benefits.  

    Vacations improve your creativity

    None of us likes to think there’s a limit to our brainpower, but researchers say it’s true. Constantly drawing from the well of our own ideas and creativity without a break causes our mental productivity to decline over time. Apart from being just plain depressing, that mental slowdown can crush your ability to innovate and develop smart responses to business problems. The good news is that with more frequent breaks, you’ll be able to solve problems better and faster.  

    Vacations can be good for your brand

    Worried that you’ll seem like a slacker to clients and customers? Don’t fear. Letting people know you’re taking a well-earned break (and that they’ll be taken care of while you’re out) shows that you know how to balance your time and take care of yourself. If you have employees or are looking to hire, a vacation-friendly attitude will make your company more appealing to applicants, especially Millennials who put a high priority on work-life balance.  

    How to budget money and time for a vacation when you work for yourself

    One of the saddest things to hear from self-employed people is that they don’t have the time and money for a break. How can you break out of the working-too-hard-to-stop cycle?  

    Price your products and services right

    Remember, when you’re self-employed, it’s up to you, not an employer, to make sure you have paid time off. If you’re setting prices too low to make that happen, revisit your pricing strategies and maybe change your target audience to one with more buying power. [bctt tweet="When you’re self-employed, it’s up to you, not an employer, to make sure you have paid time off." username="hostgator"]  

    Set up vacation savings

    Building vacation savings into your budget is important but easy to overlook. Put aside a set amount each month so you can book those state park reservations early or jump on an airfare deal when the time is right.  

    Fence off your vacation time

    Over the past five years of self-employment, I’ve learned to be consistent about choosing vacation days well in advance. You can sit down with a calendar at the start of each year or each quarter to pick the days you want. Block them out on your calendar app so you don’t book meetings or work on those days.  

    How to vacation without coming home to chaos

    Coming home from vacation to a messy house is kind of a bummer. Coming home to business messes can kill your vacation relaxation buzz in no time. Plan ahead so you can enjoy your break and your return to work.  

    For solopreneur online retailers

    Post a notice on each page of your site and your checkout with the dates when you’ll be unavailable to answer customer inquiries, offer support, or ship orders. Emphasize the date when you’ll be back online. Set up a vacation autoresponder notice for your work email addresses. If you’re truly concerned about customer issues cropping up while you’re gone, you can take your shop offline, with a notice telling customers when you’ll be back.  

    For independent freelancers and consultants

    The general rule I follow as a freelance professional is to give clients a month or so of notice when I’m going to be away for more than a couple of days. That gives them enough lead time to adjust their timetables, if necessary. I also spell out which of their projects (or project sections) will be done before I leave and which I’ll tackle when I return so they don’t have any last-minute surprises. I use a vacation autoresponder for my emails, too, so they don’t think I’m ignoring them while I’m away. Remember to let potential clients know about your plans when it’s relevant. For example, if you have an inquiry about a major 3-month project, be upfront about the fact that you’ll be in Fiji for a couple of weeks right in the middle of their project window.  

    For small e-retailers and agencies with employees

    If you’re a small online retailer or agency owner with employees and vendors, make sure they know when you’ll be out well in advance. Decide who’s going to cover for you and who will maintain your website. Put those plans in writing, along with a process for resolving any problems, and notes on when to contact you. If your vendors or clients normally deal directly with you, introduce them to the employee who’ll be taking over while you’re out.  

    For yourself

    Make sure you have contact information for your webhosting service in case you need to resolve site issues from the road. If you’re traveling abroad or to a remote area, find out what type of internet and phone access you’ll have, in case you have to deal with work on vacation. You can buy a short-term in-country mobile and data plan with your carrier or pick up a pay-as-you-go phone with local coverage when you reach your destination so you don’t have to scramble for access if something comes up.  

    While you’re on vacation

    Pulling your attention away from your business long enough to relax can be tough, especially during your first vacation after you launch your business. If a trusted employee is minding things for you, you can safely disengage unless they contact you. If you’re a solopreneur, you have a couple of choices.  

    Check in occasionally

    If worry about your business threatens to spoil your break, you could check your email and website from time to time. The risk of that is you may end up responding to clients and vendors who forgot you’re on vacation. That trains them (and you) to ignore the boundaries you set on work time. The other risk is you may see a piece of bad news you can’t do a thing about. This happened to me when I foolishly checked my work email on the first day of my very first vacation as a freelancer. That’s how I learned one of my biggest clients was halting their content marketing program pending an overhaul. That could have waited until I got home, not only because it made me apprehensive but also because I felt like a dummy for stressing myself at the start of a trip I’d saved for all year.  

    Unplug completely

    Going totally offline is the vacation ideal. Most of us don’t come close to achieving the no-email-on-vacation goal, because we’re all secretly afraid we’ll miss a one-in-a-million crisis and come back to chaos, but we can get closer to totally unplugging with practice. I took the offline approach during my second trip abroad as a freelancer, because my past vacations showed me I had a good handle on preparing for breaks. I also didn’t want any out-of-my-control bad news spoiling my family trip.  

    When you return from vacation

    Re-entry doesn’t have to mean catching up on email for two days straight. Prioritize by checking in with your clients, employees, and vendors, and address any real issues that cropped up while you were gone. Make a few notes on what to do differently next time to make vacations even less stressful. Take a moment to appreciate the fact that your business can stand on its own for a few days while you’re rewarding yourself for your hard work. Then start flexing those newly refreshed creative-thinking skills to make your business even better. While you’re at it, start planning your next vacation.
  • Starting a Blog? Educate Yourself With These 10 Blogging Lessons

    Thursday, April 27, 2017 by
    Blogging Lessons from first year of blogging If you just started a blog then you need to learn blogging lessons. You don't need more posts, you don't need a new Facebook page, you need to learn the blogging lessons those ahead of you already know. I know "lessons" doesn't imply too much fun. Don't worry, this is just one blog post and takes 3 minutes to read. You can skip down to the good stuff below if you'd like. Create Your Blog  

    Why keep reading?

    Alternatively, you can plunder through the blogosphere head first if you want, assuming people will read whatever you write and generally making every mistake we all make. It will still be fun to create a blog but it will take you longer to reach success. You could find yourself three months down the road without any results to show off other than your lonely blog itself. I know because it happened to me (more on that down below). In this article I'm going to give you a head start ahead of other blogs by explaining 10 lessons I learned in my first year of blogging. Nine years ago I was new to blogging. But I observed and questioned everything and now for the past few years have been able to blog for a living. Without that first year, the other eight wouldn't have happened. Granted, this is only one man's advice, but I've interacted with thousands of bloggers and gathered a lot of insight in my time. I hope at least a few of you can benefit from this.  

    Which types of bloggers should read this?

    Some of the posts I write go way off track into abstract land and we talk about which images are most profitable and whether PageRank will make a comeback. This is not one of those posts. I want to make sure that if you're one of these types of bloggers you know that this post (and the lessons it contains) are for you: types of bloggers1. Topical experts If you're an expert on a topic, whether it's gadgets or gardening, you need blogging lessons to work those huge paragraphs of your advice into something more manageable and readable. 2. Business bloggers Anyone who has signed up to blog for their business has to please the CEO, and they're often smarter than you think. A little finesse will go a long way. 3. Ghost writers The ghost blogger is assumed to be the craftiest blogger of all. You must know hundreds of styles and pick from your arsenal which to use at any given moment. So a post like this, where I'm letting you steal my styles, is ideal! 4. Developers Developers often just write in shorthand. It's great for other developers, but you need to learn your audience's voice to get common folks (like your future investors) to read through it all. 5. Personal bloggers who want to blog for a living It's personal bloggers who want to make a living off a blog who need these lessons the most. The ghost writer gets $250 per post on big tech blogs and the developer blogs their notes to make millions off an app someday. They don't necessarily need the income from their personal blog like we do. As I said, it's the solo bloggers who can benefit the most from a fast rise on the learning curve. Read the blogs of anyone who started small and now is a big blogger and they'll constantly talk about what they learned. This was me. We don't have the guidelines corporate bloggers might and have to create our own. For these reasons, let's focus the messages of this post on solo bloggers.  

    Why you need to learn from those ahead of you

    Before I go into several bite-sized lessons you can take away from this post, I want to share a story. This story is about a kid who could have made a huge blog in university and been a success story of his alma-mater. This kid was me.  

    A topic too late

    Back in 2008, I started a blog about stocks. It sounded like a million dollar idea and there were many fewer blogs back then (100,000+ start each day). I was new to stocks and hadn't invested but was taking a course called Money and Credit that made me super curious how it all works. This blog was going to be about my rise to fame trading stocks! Well the stock market crashed the next year. My advice was basically useless and my rise to fame was cut short. In 2010, I turned to blogging about college advice. I recruited about 50 guest writers and we blogged endlessly about advice for new freshmen. This one had more success - we even got free laptops and beverages to review! But the larger sites like College Confidential and College Humor dwarfed our blog and stole our traffic. My rise to fame was basically at a standstill. Thankfully (and this is my first lesson for you) I had knowingly followed one strategy of many of the best bloggers: write about it as you learn it to take people along your journey. [bctt tweet="#Blogging Lesson #1: Write about it as you learn it to take people along your journey." username="hostgator"] The college blog had resulted in several questions about how to even start a blog in the first place, and in mid 2011 I was able to start a free blogging advice community with the few dollars I could spare. By salvaging the value in it, I was able to "fall forward" and land on a newer, more successful venture. The message? My rise to fame was returned to me, but I spent three years learning in order to get there. When you start off blogging assuming it'll be a hit you enter with confidence, but you kick yourself later for not knowing what worked. You need to optimize your time early on if at all possible. The good news is if you generate a whole trail of advice for others to follow, then you'll distill something very valuable to a beginner audience.  

    10 blogging lessons to keep in mind

    Now it’s time to get into the bulk of this post. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you'd like to borrow my lessons from nine years in this crazy industry:  

    1. Direct response copy is your friend

    I’m starting strong with a tip I’d usually not give out, it’s that good. You will always get more attention on your post in the form of reads, comments and shares if you start out with the problem clearly explained. Then go into the solution. Us laymen readers need to know why you're writing, so follow the steps in direct response copy any time you want to convert knowledge into an actionable article people will respond to.  

    2. You must find an idol

    No matter what type of blogger you are, the easiest way to get inspiration and know that there's more out there for you is to find an idol who's already killing it in your field. Read this person every day and subscribe to their email list. Learn, learn, learn then apply it.  

    3. A good domain name matters

    Measure twice, cut once. If you're the best blogger ever with a confusing or just misleading domain, you will face unnecessary setbacks. Pick a domain name that reflects your work and the community you hope to build. Humor is a-okay. But blogging on an old domain or a subdomain, like, can hurt your credibility. Domain Name  

    4. Don't wait for roadblocks to move. Move around them.

    A big key to rising to success in blogging (quickly) is the ability to avoid roadblocks. Don't try and blast through your writer's block or force a topic that hasn't worked for you. Move on to a new topic. Ask yourself: is what you're working on worth the time, and is it going to get you more of what you want? I see bloggers constantly dwell on a certain design only to trash it later. Don't get bogged down! Step back and focus on what you really want out of your blog (things like comments, shares, popular articles, and a large audience). [bctt tweet="You don't have to move blogging roadblocks! Just stealthily move around them. #inspiration" username="hostgator"]  

    5. People want to write for you

    In every niche and every time, even as I write this at 12:50am, there are people who want exposure. Even if your blog is two weeks old, someone can still help your growth and their own resume by guest posting for you. If you're trying to build a community of readers, consider building a community of authors first. Everyone will share their own work!  

    6. The 80/20 rule

    The 80/20 rule applied to blogging can mean either:
    1. 80 percent of the success you achieve comes from a small 20 percent of your activities, or
    2. You should spend 80% of your time blogging away from your blog and 20% blogging at your blog, not the other way around.
    Both 1 and 2 are very much related. You achieve way more success on your blog by blogging for other blogs and promoting your content in places that already have readers. Like Derek Halpern of social triggers says: "It’s smarter to find another 10,000 people to consume what you’ve already created as opposed to creating more."  

    7. Get self-hosted WordPress and a host you can fall in love with

    The sooner you get on self-hosted WordPress the happier your life becomes. Instead of wondering why you can't do something, you have the full set of tools used by the web's most famous, profitable, prolific bloggers. HostGator is the solution I used to get my first site setup using the most basic option available anywhere on the internet, Hatchling, but they now have managed WordPress cloud hosting too. So it's just a decision of whether to get basic, or get super-charged lighting-fast full-throttle [bctt tweet="The sooner you get on self-hosted WordPress the happier your life becomes. #bloggingadvice" username="hostgator"] Recommended WordPress Hosting  

    8. Your email list is your #1 priority

    I say #1 there because #4 doesn't sound quite as urgent, but the truth is this: if you run a blog you should hook it up with an email list ASAP to start building your community and to show every reader that you're serious about what you're creating. Even if someone doesn't join your email list right away, they'll always be intrigued by some inner community with secret offerings you've created. Just knowing your email list exists will actually make someone a lot more likely to interact with your blog. Email list for blogs  

    9. Behind every success story is heaps of blood, sweat and tears

    Every blogger who packages their advice into a beautiful eBook, course, or blog post has gone through many hard nights and long days to get their blog where they need it to be. You have to love the journey. It's never as easy as they say it is, which makes it all that much more rewarding when you do succeed.  

    10. Use blue shirt trust to your advantage

    The phrase "blue shirt trust" describes the phenomenon that if you wear a blue shirt to interviews or appearances, people are more likely to believe you and inevitably choose you over the competition. My final tip is a lesson that truly applies across blogs and niches and the lesson is this: if you can present yourself in a trustworthy way, you will be far more successful than if you do not, regardless of the content you provide. Whether it's leading with a positive quote, using a reliable WordPress theme, writing in a trustworthy tone, or simply using a blue color scheme, you want to do this.  

    Learning for blogging success

    Do not underestimate the value of learning from your blogging ancestors. I don’t want to see you start several blogs before hitting it big - I want the first blog you make to go big. Take responsibility — humble yourself — and pride in learning in every corner of the web. I really hope this post helps, and if you're interesting in going deeper with some more hands on blogging lessons, check out my WordPress blog tutorial below.
    What's a blogging lesson that stands out for you? How did it impact your online career? I know the HostGator audience is a savvy group of bloggers and website owners so I’m really curious to hear your thoughts. See you down below in the comments.
  • Do You Need to Transfer Your Domain or Change Your Name Servers?

    Wednesday, April 26, 2017 by

    Changing Name Servers

    When you own a domain there’s a lot of things you’ll be able to do with it, beyond building a website on the domain. Naturally, talking about domain name transfers and name servers can get a bit technical and overwhelming, so we’ll bring the process down from the clouds for you.

    Below we’re going to examine the differences between transferring the domain to another registrar or user, and changing the name servers altogether. HostGator customers can learn more here.


    What Are Registrars?

    When you register a domain you choose a certain registrar to register your domain with. Usually, you end up choosing a yearly contract where you’ll have ownership of that domain for a year before you need to renew it again.

    Some common domain name registrars include: HostGator,, and GoDaddy. The domain name registrar you choose doesn’t matter all that much, but most will differ based upon pricing and the benefits included with your domain.

    Remember, your web host and your domain name registrar can be different companies, in which case you’ll just need to change the name servers, which we’ll get to below.

    Domain Name


    Why Would You Want to Transfer a Domain?

    There are a variety of reasons for transferring your domain, but we highlight a few of the most common reasons below:

    • You want to merge your host and domain name registrar together.
    • You’ve bought a domain that’s currently registered at a different registrar.
    • You’ve sold a domain name and need to transfer the domain to the buyer.

    Domain Name Transfer Prerequisites

    Before you begin the domain name transfer process you’ll want to review the prerequisites below to ensure that you’re not creating any additional headaches for yourself.

    • Your domain must be over 60 days old and not have gone through other transfers with 60 days.
    • You must know whether or not the name servers will also need to be changed when you switch to a new registrar.
    • In some cases, you might need an authorization code and remove WHOIS protection before making the switch.
    • Make sure you update all of the domain contact information, as this will be needed to complete the request.

    The Domain Name Transfer Process

    The domain name transfer process will begin with your current registrar. You’ll put in a request to transfer your domain to a new registrar and be given a set of processes to follow on their end.

    The steps required will differ based upon the registrar you’re currently using, and where you’re moving your domain. The transfer usually takes a few days to complete, as there are steps in place to prevent unauthorized transfers.


    What Are Name Servers?

    Name servers are the secret key for your website to actually show up when people search for it. Essentially, when someone types in your domain name, the name server will then point to the web host where your site is hosted.


    Transferring Name Servers

    Transferring name servers is the process of pointing your domain to a specific host. Your existing name servers will usually look something like this:

    To change your current name servers all you have to do is change the existing name server information to your new host.

    Name servers allow you to point your domain towards whatever web host you’re using currently, while transferring a domain deals with the registrar where your domain lives.

    Hopefully the post above helped to clear up any confusion between actually transferring a domain and simply changing the name servers.

  • 7 Online Copywriting Tips to Improve Your Website

    Tuesday, April 25, 2017 by
    online copywriting tips for your website An impressive online presence matters. It’s the difference between visitors learning more about you or losing interest in your brand. To grab your target audience’s attention, upgrade your copywriting skills to engage with visitors. “You can’t transform a crappy painting into a masterpiece with a few brush strokes. Likewise, you can’t transform crappy copy into a persuasive message with a few minor tweaks. You need good copy at the heart of your message,” says Nick Kolenda, author of Methods of Persuasion. Effective copy helps your business sell more products, boost brand awareness, and dominate the competition. Try these seven copywriting tips below to create a memorable visitor experience.

    HostGator WordPress Hosting 1. Write Targeted Copy

    Your website is an opportunity to establish your brand in the market. When people arrive to your site, they want to know what you do and what you stand for. Use your site copy to reflect a clear vision of your business. Rather than offering unnecessary details, select a primary goal that your copy will accomplish. “It’s important to give every piece of copy you write a single objective...Focusing on one objective at a time minimizes confusion and prevents you from including extraneous text,” writes Sujan Patel, co-founder of Web Profits. Targeted copy will pinpoint the solution you offer visitors. You’re not just a food blogger or a website designer. People want to know how you can help them with their problems. In the image below, The Art of Sculpting tells you exactly how they serve their potential customers—taking their fitness to a new level. Revolutionize Your Body  

    2. Make the Visitor the Hero

    Let’s set the record straight: your copy isn't about you, your business's achievements, or even your latest TV appearance. If your desire is to transform visitors into leads (or customers), your copy must focus on your audience and their needs. All the copy should center around helping the visitor. It starts with telling a great story and creating a journey that involves the visitor. Much like the movies, the copy will discuss the challenges and the triumphs of the hero. Copy isn’t always about getting someone to take action. It’s also about etching a unique memory into their minds. That emotion will stay with them after they leave your site.  

    3. Express Your Value

    Visitors are interested in knowing how you can change their lives. What value will you provide to customers to improve their outcomes? This value will separate you from the competition. In-home care startup Honor establishes value quickly on its homepage. Their team offers services to help seniors live better, while offering families peace of mind. Be descriptive in your language and avoid the over-the-top tone. It’s perfectly fine to boast about the benefits of your product. However, you don't want to over-exaggerate. “People don’t want to be sold to. Tone down the hype and write your web copy like you’re talking with your ideal customer face-to-face. Your audience can tell the difference, and will be more likely to participate,” says Christina Walker, a professional freelance web copywriter. To show your value, highlight the results of your services. Get people engaged in doing things differently with your business.

    Home Care 4. Craft a Compelling Call to Action

    Effective copy leads visitors to your desired next step, and that's where your call to action comes in. Your website consists of several pages with different purposes. If you’ve worked with marketers, they may have suggested creating pages consistent with your sales funnel. For instance, with new visitors, your goal may be to turn them into qualified leads. The call to action might convince your audience to sign up for a free ebook or checklist. While for your returning visitors who already possess interest in your products, the call to action would be a 10% coupon or a bonus gift after an initial purchase. No matter the call to action, it should speak to the audience’s needs and desires. They should be eager to receive your offering and ready to move down the sales funnel.  

    5. Add Social Proof

    Your brand centers around perception. It’s about credibility in the eyes of your future customers. They want to know that your products and services are worth their hard-earned money. Moreover, visitors are curious about whether or not they should associate themselves with your brand. With so much competition in the marketplace, sometimes the only differentiator is the prestige and external validation of your brand. People want to be affiliated with success. We buy cars to transport us from one place to another. So why would anyone want to purchase a Lamborghini or a Tesla? Because customers also seek vehicles to represent their status in society. Leverage social proof, like customer testimonials, to influence your audience. Entrepreneur contributor Gail Goodman agrees: “Do you have a great customer quote that you can include in your e-mail? A brief and convincing quote can add credibility to your campaign. The more real you can make the person to your readers, the better.” Check out this example from Backlinko. Brian Dean backs up his expertise with quotes from industry influencers. Backlinko

    6. Avoid Jargon

    Have you ever sat in a meeting where you didn't understand anything? Everyone was talking in your native language, but every word seemed foreign. You probably felt confused or as if you didn't belong. It’s an overwhelming feeling that just makes you want to stand up and exit the room. That’s a similar feeling your visitors experience when landing on a site stuffed with jargon. They don't understand the content, so in a split second, they decide that this brand isn't for them. To keep your target audience interested, you must speak their language. Instead of using unfamiliar terms, stick to words your audience knows. Pay attention to the words your current customers use to describe your business. Use social media to learn how your audience talks about your brand. With this insight, you can create copy that invites them into your website experience.  

    7. Experiment With Different Versions

    Your first draft of copy isn’t your last. Just like other aspects of business, the best way to learn if something works is to test it. So try not to fall in love with your copy. Remember that every word on the page is to help visitors understand you better. It’s important to keep that principle in mind when A/B testing your copy. Experts suggest changing only one variable in your experiments. You might test the headline, then the call to action. If you test everything at once, you’ll lose sight of what your visitors actually like about your copy. Below is an example of an A/B test on the call-to-action-button text. The new variation focused on what the company’s offer provided the visitor. Empire Flippers Be willing to experiment with your copy. It’s the best way to learn what connects with your visitors.  

    Conveying Your Brand Message

    When visitors land on your site, your goal is to gain their interest and establish trust quickly. Copywriting is a critical component to telling your story to your audience. Write compelling copy that makes every visitor the hero, and use social proof to add to your credibility. Improve your website with better copywriting.  
    Show off those new copywriting skills with a gorgeous website! It's easy to design a great website with HostGator's website builder. Featuring pre-built sections and pages, 100+ mobile-friendly templates, and more.

    HostGator Website Builder

  • Best WordPress Plugins for Wedding Websites

    Monday, April 24, 2017 by
    Best Wordpress Plugins for Wedding Websites Your wedding is an incredibly special day in your life. Building a beautiful website around the day is a great way to keep guests informed and it can help commemorate the magic. With a wedding website you can communicate the details about your wedding like: location, directions, accommodations and gifts. All the needed information will be in one place, there is no need to spend hours on the phone speaking to each guest. Beyond highlighting certain wedding details, you can use your site to showcase beautiful pictures, videos and more, so you can remember your big day anytime you’d like. If you’re utilizing WordPress for your wedding site, then there are all kinds of plugins you can use to extend the functionality of your website and make it do whatever you wish. Below you’ll find five plugins that are invaluable additions to any wedding website. HostGator WordPress Hosting  

    1. WeddingPress

    Wedding Press WeddingPress is the perfect all-in-one wedding plugin for your WordPress site. This plugin is great in that you’ll really only need this single plugin to make your wedding site more functional and useful. Whether you’re looking for a way to add a gift list, create a way for guests to RSVP, or even create meal lists, then this plugin is a good choice. Some of the most useful features of this plugin include:
    • Creating an online gift list that syncs with PayPal for easy payment
    • Social media and email list integration
    • Easily create an online guest list for quick RSVP
    • Let guests choose their preferred menu options
    WeddingPress will run you $30, but is a great way to provide a seamless registrations experience for your guests.  

    2. Events Planner

    Events Planner is a free plugin that’ll help you manage any kind of event. Although technically an event management plugin, it’s perfectly suited to the wedding environment where you have things like a reception, rehearsal dinners, the actual wedding, and the after party all occurring in close proximity. Events Planner can help you plan and manage your wedding guest list, while keeping them in the loop about the latest details related to your wedding. Some of the main features of this plugin include:
    • Easy event registration
    • A built-in form manager
    • PayPal integration (if payments are necessary)
    • Confirmation emails for all registrants
    There is also a pro edition of this plugin, which will unlock features like: availability of an unlimited number of dates, prices and times, the ability for both individual and group registrations, a visible attendee list, and ability to send emails.  

    3. WP Google Maps

    Google Maps Your visitors need to be able to easily locate your venue, especially if you’re expecting guests to travel for your wedding. What better way to do this than to utilize the power of Google Maps? WP Google Maps is a great plugin that will help you provide exact wedding location details via Google Maps. This is an incredibly easy plugin to use, but is still quite rich on features. The free version of this plugin has features like:
    • Classic Google Maps and Street-view support
    • Widgetized for easy placement
    • Re-sizable to fit your site
    • Can add map markers, animations, and images
    If you upgrade to the paid version of the plugin you’ll access additional features, like the ability to create more than one map, show the locations of your visitors and icon upgrades.  

    4. Bean Registry

    Wedding gift registries are an important part of any wedding. But, instead of sending your guests a random assortment of links to different websites, why not host them all in one place? With Bean Registry you can use their list of shortcodes to easily add your registry links to their supported stores to anywhere on your site. Some features of this plugin include:
    • An easy process to add items to registry and link to existing stores
    • Large number of stores to choose from
    • Easily add your URL through a shortcode
    This plugin connects you to over 15 current stores, and is a great way to create a registry for your wedding site without a lot of hassle. Wedding websites are becoming more and more popular; with the plugins above you’ll be able to transform your existing wedding site into something useful and beautiful. Any plugins we missed that are a must-have for your wedding site? Please share in the comments below.