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  • WordPress Keyboard Shortcuts You Should Know

    Sunday, October 22, 2017 by

    Keyboard ShortcutsWordPress Keyboard Shortcuts

    Chances are you use numerous keyword shortcuts on a daily basis. You probably use them so regularly that they've become second nature to you. Well, WordPress has those same shortcuts, and mastering them can make your life as a webmaster or blogger much easier. WordPress offers a wide array of shortcuts that can help to greatly improve your productivity when using the platform. They have shortcuts that can greatly help you with the formatting of your posts and managing of your comments, two things that probably take up the most of your time. Below we profile the most useful WordPress keyword shortcuts you need to know. Recommended WordPress Hosting

    WordPress Post Editor Keyboard Shortcuts

    The first place you’ll be able to use keyboard shortcuts to dramatically improve your workflow is within the post editor. Formatting your posts takes time, but with the shortcuts below you’ll be able to format your content without ever taking your fingers off the keyboard. If you have a variety of other plugins installed on your site, then they might come equipped with keyboard shortcuts as well, but for the purpose of this post, we’re going to stick to those native to WordPress. Also, keep in mind that the Ctrl key is for PC’s, and can be substituted for the Command key on Mac.  

    Basic Shortcuts

    You probably already have a grasp of these basic shortcuts, but they’re worth highlighting just in case.
    •    Highlighting Text: Ctrl + forward arrow or back arrow
    •    Select All:  Ctrl+A
    •    Copy: Ctrl+C
    •    Paste: Ctrl+V
    •    Cut: Ctrl+X
    •    Undo: Ctrl+Z
    •    Redo: Ctrl+Y
    •    Bold: Ctrl+B
    •    Underline: Ctrl+U
    •    Italicize: Ctrl+I
    •    Strikethrough: Alt+Shift+D
      With the basics in hand, it’s time to cover how you can quickly format your text as you write. Below you’ll learn how to change your headings, edit your links, align your text, and much more.  

    Changing Your Heading

    The shortcuts below will help you change your headings and subheadings:
    •    Heading 1: Ctrl+1
    •    Heading 2: Ctrl+2
    •    Heading 3: Ctrl+3
    •    Heading 4: Ctrl+4
    •    Heading 5: Ctrl+5
    •    Heading 6: Ctrl+6

    Aligning Your Text

    Sometimes you’ll want to quickly adjust the alignment of your text. The following commands will help you do just that:
    •    Align left: Alt+Shift+L
    •    Align right: Alt+Shift+R
    •    Align center: Alt+Shift+C
    •    Justify your text: Alt+Shift+J

    Changing Your Links

    Now you can embed and change links as you write:
    •    Insert a link: Alt+Shift+A
    •    Delete a link: Alt+Shift+S

    Media and Element Modification

    WordPress has various other media features like blockquotes, images, page breaks and more, that you’ll be able to activate with the shortcuts below:
    •    Insert an image: Alt+Shift+M
    •    Insert blockquotes: Alt+Shift+Q
    •    Insert the more tag: Alt+Shift+T
    •    Insert a page break: Alt+Shift+P
    •    Spell check your text: Alt+Shift+N
    •    Save a draft: Ctrl+S

    Adjusting the Post Editor Window

    If you’re looking to minimize distractions and improve your focus as you write, then this shortcut will be incredibly effective. Below you’ll learn how to enable the built-in distraction free writing mode and how to adjust the post editor window.
    •    Turn on/off the distraction free mode: Alt+Shift+W
    •    Widen the editor: Ctrl + ‘+’
    •    Narrow the editor: Ctrl + ‘-‘
    •    Bring it back to regular width: Ctrl+0

    WordPress Comment Section Keyboard Shortcuts

    WordPress has a variety of shortcuts you can use to manage your comment section. If you have a very active comments section then these shortcodes will help you manage and reply to your comments much easier. To use these comment shortcodes first you’ll have to enable them from within WordPress. To do this, navigate to Users>Your Profile>Keyboard Shortcuts, then tick the box that allows for keyboard shortcuts. You must manually turn on this feature for any user who will be using keyboard shortcuts to manage comments. Once you’re on the comment screen you can navigate up by pressing the K key and navigate down by pressing the J key.  

    Comment Moderation Shortcuts

    The following shortcuts will help you better manage individual comments. All you have to do is press the associated key from within the comment screen:
    •    Approve comment: A
    •    Delete comment: D
    •    Mark comment as spam: S
    •    Restore a comment: Z
    •    Unapprove a comment: U
    •    Reply to comment: R
    •    Turn on quick edit on a comment: Q

    Bulk Comment Moderation Shortcuts

    If you regularly have a lot of comments you need to reply to, manage, or delete, then the following shortcuts will be a huge time saver. To select the comments you want to manage just use the J and K keys to find your comment if you want to select every single comment then use the Shift+X command. With your desired comments selected you can do the following:
    •    Approve comments: Shift+A
    •    Delete comments: Shift+D
    •    Mark as spam: Shift+S
    •    Unapprove comments: Shift+U
    •    Move comments to trash: Shift+T
    •    Bring comments back from trash: Shift+Z
    All of the shortcuts above might seem like a lot to master, but remember you don’t have to learn them all in one day. Just pick a few that you think will be the most valuable and integrate them into your existing workflow. Over time you can add more and soon you’ll be accomplishing your WordPress tasks in the shortest amount of time possible.   Are there any shortcuts you regularly use that we forget to highlight above? Please share your favorites in the comments below.
  • 6 Common Questions About VPS Hosting

    Sunday, October 22, 2017 by

    vps hosting faqTop VPS Hosting FAQ Answered

    With all of the different hosting types available it can be difficult to keep track. One of the more confusing types of hosting is VPS hosting. It’s a relatively new style of hosting, especially when compared to shared and dedicated hosting, so that confusion is natural. If you’ve been trying to learn more about VPS hosting, so you can decide if it’s the right choice for your business, then this post is for you. Below we answer the most common VPS hosting questions.  

    1. What is VPS hosting?

    VPS hosting utilizes something called a Virtual Private Server. Essentially, this style of hosting mimics a dedicated server, but it utilizes a shared server environment. Your physical servers will be housed in a data center. And a VPS is the portioned part of this physical server that has its own operating system, disc space, and bandwidth. Your VPS offers extensive server customization options, similar to a dedicated server, but at the fraction of the cost. VPS Hosting

    2. How does VPS hosting differ from shared and dedicated hosting?

    VPS hosting is technically a combination between both shared hosting and dedicated hosting. With dedicated servers, you rent out an entire server, which can get pretty expensive fast. With shared hosting, you end up renting a portion of a server that’s shared with other users. Shared hosting is a solid option for beginners, as it’s generally much cheaper and provides you with the necessary resources to get your site started. VPS uses a single server and that server is partitioned out into different virtualized server environments. This differs from shared hosting because with shared hosting you have limits on the amount of CPU and memory available, as well as other software restrictions. VPS usually offer baseline resources that you’re guaranteed, plus additional resources available at a moments notice should your site experience a traffic spike.  

    3. How does VPS hosting work?

    VPS hosting is similar to using virtualized OS software. For example, let’s say you have a MacBook Pro, but you really need to use the Window OS for a certain program to run. Instead of buying a separate Windows PC you could use software like VirtualBox or VMware. This software will allow you to run a virtualized version of the Windows OS on your Mac machine. The same can be said for VPS. On the same single physical server, you can run several different virtualized servers. Each of these virtual servers will act as if they’re separate dedicated servers.  

    4. What are the benefits to VPS hosting?

    If you require a unique hosting setup, or you have a very large and high-traffic site, then you’ve probably thought about getting your own dedicated server. But, there’s only one problem. Dedicated servers are expensive! This is where VPS comes to the rescue. VPS can be totally customized to your liking and give you much more control over your hosting environment when compared to a shared server. VPS hosting can also grow with your site as your traffic levels and resource needs increase. VPS hosting is also generally more secure than shared hosting environments, as you’ll be the only site using the set server resources.  

    5. What’s the difference between managed and unmanaged VPS hosting?

    With managed VPS hosting your hosting provider will be responsible for configuring your server, doing routine maintenance, keeping your environment secure, and more. The actual services included with managed VPS depend upon the hosting provider you choose. With unmanaged VPS you’ll have a lot less hand-holding and generally be responsible for general server admin tasks, maintenance, security, and more. With unmanaged VPS hosting, you’ll need to have some technical chops to be able to run your server efficiently.  

    6. What software can I install on VPS hosting?

    With VPS hosting you have much more control over the software that your server is running. Typically, the only limits placed upon the software you can run are the operating system the server runs on and your total memory allocation.   Hopefully, the answers above have helped to answer your most common VPS hosting questions. Learn more about HostGator's VPS hosting here!
  • Is Your WordPress Plugin or Theme Reliable? Here’s How To Check

    Monday, October 16, 2017 by

    Is a WordPress Theme ReliableHow Do You Know if a WordPress Plugin or Theme Will Work?

    When you’re on the search for new plugins or themes you’re going to have a lot to dig through. After all, there are thousands upon thousounds of themes and plugins for you to choose from. The last thing you want to do is rush your plugin or theme selection and end up choosing one that will compromise your online efforts. Choosing low-quality themes or plugins can lead to slower sites, sites that break easily, and can even leave you open to security risks. Below we offer a few tips that will help you ensure you’re choosing a high-quality theme or plugin before you decide to buy it or install it on your site. Recommended WordPress Hosting

    1. Only Download From Reliable Sources

    One of the first steps to choosing a high-quality theme or plugin is to only download or purchase from reliable sources. Chances are, when you’re spending money on a theme or plugin it’s already going to be of higher quality. But, you’ll still want to thoroughly research the plugin or theme beforehand. Below we offer a few more things you’ll want to look out for when selecting a new plugin or theme. Follow these guidelines whether you’re purchasing from a marketplace or using the WordPress theme directory or plugin directory. If you’re looking for a solid source of premium WordPress themes, then ThemeForest, Elegant Themes, and StudioPress are all great resources to check out. WordPress plugin directory

    2. Check User Reviews and Feedback

    User reviews and customer feedback don’t lie. If the plugin or theme you’re thinking about has a very low star rating, then it’s probably for good reason. However, it’s also important to keep the total number of reviews in mind. If it only has a small number of reviews, then it will be hard to glean a factual option based on the feedback provided. By reading reviews you’ll be able to learn things like how secure it is, how often any technical issues occur, and anything else that you might worry about when installing a new plugin or theme. WordPress plugin reviews

    3. Check the Latest Update Date

    This is a very important bit of information. You’d hate to install a plugin that never receives developer updates. This will lead to potential security risks and could even lead to plugin and theme conflicts down the road. Ideally, you’d like to see updates that have occurred no longer than a few months ago. This means the developer or development team is actively maintaining the theme or plugin and working to improve it. WordPress plugin last update

    4. Number of Active Installs

    It’s not pure fact, but chances are, the more people who have installed and are using the theme or plugin, the better it’s going to be. It wouldn’t make sense for a large number of site owners to use a plugin or theme that doesn’t work. check WordPress active installs

    5. Look at Their Support

    Not every plugin or theme has a dedicated support team. It’s not completely necessary and depends upon the complexity of the plugin or theme. But, most high-quality themes and plugins do have some form of support. It can be helpful to check this out beforehand, so you’ll know you’ll be taken care of if any technical issues arise. Beyond support, you should also look for plugin and theme documentation that will help with setup and plugin or theme customization. WordPress plugin support 6. WordPress Compatibility Before you end up choosing a WordPress plugin or theme you’ll want to double check that it’s compatible with the latest version of WordPress. The WordPress core is updated on a regular basis, without your plugins and themes being updated you could run into a conflict that could break your site. Hopefully, the tips above will help you make a better decision when it comes to choosing a new theme or plugin. Remember that plugin and theme selection is very important. The more time you can spend researching, the more likely you are to end up with something that will benefit your site. WordPress version compatibility Are there any selection parameters you use to filter the good from bad plugins and themes? Please share in the comments below.
  • 5 Ways To Fix Your Slow-Loading Site

    Monday, October 9, 2017 by

    fix slow loading websiteWhat Do I Do About My Website Loading Slowly?

    If one thing is true about your website, it’s that loading speed matters. When your site loads slowly you’ll not only provide a poor user experience, but you’ll also rank lower in the search engines. Luckily for you, improving your site speed doesn’t have to take a lot of additional work. Plus, the benefits you’ll receive from improving your site’s loading speed are well worth the time spent. Below we look at five different ways you can improve the speed of your website. Dedicated Server

    1. Enable Caching

    Whenever you visit a website, certain elements are stored in a cache, so the next time you visit the site it can easily access those parts and load much faster. With caching, instead of your browser having to download every single resource, it only has to download a few of them. By turning on caching you can considerably improve your site’s loading for return visitors. If you’re using a CMS like WordPress you can install a plugin like W3 Total Cache or W3 Super Cache, either of which will let you enable sitewide caching, or caching of certain site elements. If you aren’t using a CMS, then there are additional steps you’ll need to take in order to leverage browser caching.  

    2. Remove Resource-Hogging Plugins and Add-ons

    If your site is currently running too many plugins you’re not only slowing down the speed of your site, but you’re making it more susceptible to security risks. You might require a handful of plugins for your site to function the way you like, but chances are there are some you can live without, especially if they’re resource hogs. The best way to do this is to get a baseline test of your loading speed via a tool like GTMetrix or Google Pagespeed Insights. Then, go down your plugin list and deactivate one plugin at a time. Then, run the speed test with the plugin deactivated. This might be time-consuming, but it will help you find the plugins that are harming your site’s loading speed the most. At that point, you can search for a less resource-heavy plugin or find another workaround.  

    3. Optimize and Reduce the Size of Your Images

    If your site has tons of images that aren’t optimized, then this will negatively impact your site’s loading speed. By having oversized images you’ll be requiring the browser to load larger files. There are a few different ways you can optimize your images to load faster.
    • Ensure that your images are unnecessarily large. For example, if the width of your blog page is 900px, then make sure that’s how wide your images are.
    • If you’re using a CMS like WordPress, you can install a plugin like WPSmush that will automatically reduce the filesize of the images.
    • Before you upload images, first run them through a tool called Tiny PNG to reduce the file size of your image, without sacrificing the quality.

    4. Minimize Your Code

    Sometimes your website’s code can get a little bit messy. When this happens your site will take much longer to load. When you’re making a lot of customizations, using a CMS, or even using a website builder to create your site there will be unnecessary line breaks, spaces, and other elements that don’t need to be there. If you’re using WordPress, then a plugin like Better WordPress Minify will minimize your code. Or, if you’re using one of the caching plugins highlighted above, then there should also be a minify option. If you aren’t using a CMS, you can minify your code by using the Pagespeed Insights Chrome Extension. This extension will create a minimized version of your code, so you can see which version is faster. It’s also a good idea to minify your CSS and Javascript files as well. Even having all of your CSS and Javascript files in one place, instead of multiple different files, will help to speed things along.  

    5. Use a CDN

    The loading speed of your site is affected by the proximity of the user to the server where your site’s files are stored. The farther away they are from this physical location, the slower your site will load. Using a CDN can solve this problem. A CDN distributes your site’s files across a network of global servers, that way your users can access your site via the server that’s closest to them. Some solid options for a CDN are CloudFlare and KeyCDN. In some cases, your existing web host might even have the option to utilize a CDN for your site. (HostGator does!) Hopefully, the tips above will help to speed up your website and improve your overall user experience. Any tips we didn’t mention above that you’ve used to help speed up your site? Share your own recommendations in the comments below.
  • Run a Food Blog? Check Out These 5 Recipe Plugins for WordPress

    Monday, October 9, 2017 by

    best wordpress recipe pluginsBest WordPress Plugins for Recipes

    Food blogs are incredibly popular. People love to find new and interesting recipes they can try out. If you run a recipe-based website, then you’re probably looking for better and more effective ways you can show off your favorite recipes. To have an effective recipe-based website you need to showcase your recipes in a clear and engaging manner. The plugins we highlight below will allow you to do just that, and more. Below we profile our five favorite WordPress recipe plugins you can use to transform your food blog. Recommended WordPress Hosting

    1. WP Ultimate Recipe

    wp ultimate recipe WP Ultimate Recipe is a very popular recipe plugin. This plugin is geared towards helping your users find the perfect recipe. For example, with this plugin, your users can easily access recipes, print them at home, search for specific ingredients, and even adjust the servings. With the shortcode feature, you’ll be able to include your recipes into any existing page or blog post with ease. Plus, it’s mobile responsive, so your recipes will look beautiful even when viewed on smaller screens. If you’re serious about creating attractive and useful recipes for your visitors, then this plugin is worth checking out. There’s also a premium version of the plugin available that lets you do things like create meal plans, add nutritional information, let visitors save their favorites, and a lot more.  

    2. Recipe Box

    recipe box Recipe Box lets you create stylish recipes that will definitely please your visitors. This plugin offers you over 60 different customizable options, so you can create recipes that will fit the existing design of your site. You’ll be able to do things like create recipe descriptions, add images of your ingredients and finished dishes, update cooking and preparation instructions, and much more. Plus, all of your recipes are responsive, so they’ll look good on smartphones to desktop computers.  

    3. Cooked

    cooked plugin Cooked is a feature-packed premium plugin that allows you easily create attractive recipes. The drag and drop interface is very intuitive and lets you easily create unique recipe layouts. It also comes with a community feature, so your users can interact and leave feedback and reviews regarding your recipes. If you’ve been looking for a way to create unique recipe profiles, then this plugin is worth checking out. This plugin is best suited for websites that have hundreds of different recipes and are looking for a more effective way to categorize and highlight those recipes.  

    4. Yummly Rich Recipes

    yummly rich recipes Yummly Rich Recipes is a solid recipe plugin that will actually help your recipes rank in Google. This plugin does have some limited customization options but is very easy to use and setup. Its SEO optimization features are top-notch, so your recipes are more likely to appear when your readers search for recipes on Google. Plus, there’s a Yum button, which will allow your users to create a recipe box of their favorites from your site. Other features include a recipe search box, recipe name auto-population, linking within your recipes, printing options, and more.  

    5. EasyRecipe

    easy recipe EasyRecipe allows you to quickly and easily add recipes to your WordPress site. The goal of this plugin is to make it as simple as possible to add recipes to your cooking site. This plugin automatically converts plain text into an optimized recipe format, so you’ll spend less time formatting your recipes, and more time cooking. One cool feature is being able to view your recipe as Google would see it before you press publish. The customization features allow you to customize the look of your recipes in real time. The recipe plugins above will help to transform your existing recipes. You don’t have to use every plugin above, but instead, choose the plugin that closely matches your needs.   Don't miss our related posts on making the most of your food blog!   Any recipe plugins you’re in love with? Share your favorites in the comments below.