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  • The Top 15 Most Popular WordPress Plugins

    Friday, February 2, 2018 by
    top WordPress plugins you need to have

    What Are the Most Popular WordPress Plugins?

    WordPress plugins are a great way to increase the functionality of your website and easily add additional features. There are thousands of different plugins for you to choose from. In fact, the WordPress plugin repository has over 45,000 different plugins available. So, how do you know which ones you need? Luckily, a lot of those plugins perform the same functionality, so that will help narrow down your search. And some of those plugins are low quality, so it’s not recommended to install them on your site. Below you’ll find a list of the most popular WordPress plugins that you’ll want to consider installing on your WordPress site. Recommended WordPress Hosting

    1. Yoast SEO

    yoast seo Yoast SEO is a must-have WordPress plugin. If you’re looking for ways to improve your onsite SEO, then this plugin will help you do just that. It not only makes it easy for you to optimize your content for your target keywords but will educate you about SEO throughout the process.  

    2. Contact Form 7

    contact form 7 Contact Form 7 is one of the most popular contact form plugins out there. This plugin will help you create simple contact forms very quickly. Even with little technical know-how or experience you can create an attractive contact form and embed it anywhere on your site.  

    3. Akismet

    akismet Akismet is typically installed with every new WordPress installation. All you have to do is activate it, and your site will be protected against comment spam. It’s quite a useful plugin, especially if you’ve had a problem with spam comments in the past.  

    4. W3 Total Cache

    w3 total cache If you’re looking to improve the speed of your website, then caching will help you do just that. W3 Total Cache is one of the most popular caching plugins available. Activating this plugin will help to reduce the amount of time it takes your site to load, and improve overall performance.  

    5. Smush Image Compression

    smush If you want to grab your visitor’s attention, then you’re going to need to use compelling imagery. However, a lot of high-quality images can be quite large, which results in a slower loading site. To reduce the size of your images without sacrificing quality, then you’ll want to use a plugin like Smush Image Compression. This popular plugin also has paid upgrades to extend its functionality even further.  

    6. Google XML Sitemaps

    google xml Creating a sitemap will help the search engines better navigate through your website and understand its structure. Google XML Sitemaps will help to index your site with the search engines. All you have to do is activate the plugin and a sitemap will be automatically generated.  

    7. WordFence

    wordfence If you’re concerned about the security of your WordPress site, then you’ll want WordFence in your arsenal. WordFence is one of the most popular security plugins and it includes features like malware scans, login protection, firewall protection, and much more. This all-in-one security plugin is worth checking out.  

    8. NextGen Gallery

    nextgen NextGen Gallery is one of the most popular WordPress gallery plugins. This plugin is a very flexible gallery plugin for people looking to add multiple different images to their sites. It also includes a paid upgrade for those looking for even more gallery options.  

    9. Jetpack

    jetpack Jetpack was developed by the team behind WordPress, Automattic. Instead of being a single plugin it offers a wide range of different extensions, including site security, social sharing, improving site performance, optimizing your images, and a lot more.  

    10. Slider Revolution

    slider revolution Slider Revolution is a very versatile slider plugin. You can create simple slideshows, entire media galleries, and even newsletter sign up pages. With this plugin, you’ll have control over the final layout of each slide.  

    11. Redirection

    redirection Redirection is one of the most popular link redirection plugins. With this plugin, you’ll be able to change the permalinks of certain pages or posts, and easily redirect your users to the current version of the page. This plugin is also useful when you’re migrating pages or posts from an older site.  

    12. Page Builder by SiteOrigin

    page builder Sometimes you want to give your pages and posts a completely custom design. This is where you can use a plugin like Page Builder by SiteOrigin. This plugin is very easy to use and will let you create custom designs from within your WordPress page editor.  

    13. MailChimp for WordPress

    mailchimp This plugin will let you easily sync your WordPress site with your MailChimp list. You can also create opt-in forms to add to your site to encourage readers to join your list.  

    14. WooCommerce

    woocommerce WooCommerce is one of the most popular plugins for adding eCommerce functionality to your WordPress site. This plugin will work with most themes, however, keep in mind that some themes are better suited for WooCommerce functionality than others. Currently, this plugin powers 30% of online stores.  

    15. Limit Login Attempts

    limit login attempts Your WordPress backend is one of the most vulnerable points of access across your website. Limit Login Attempts does exactly what the name suggests. It will lock out users who have input a certain number of failed login attempts.   Hopefully, the list above will help to simplify your plugin selection. Remember, you don’t need to install every single plugin on the list above, but instead that plugins that have features your site requires. Are there any plugins we failed to mention on the list above? Please share your favorites in the comments below.
  • 5 Anti Spam WordPress Plugins to Clean Up Your Comments Section

    Wednesday, November 15, 2017 by

    best wordpress antispam plugins

    Best WordPress Plugins for Anti Spam

    You’ve finally done it, your site is gaining traction, and you’re getting more traffic than ever before. However, once your site starts to pick up your traffic, you might also notice the rise of something else, too: spam comments. If you run a WordPress blog or website and have comments enabled, then you’re probably well aware of the spam comments that fill your inbox. These can be a nuisance to sort through and delete yourself, but you don’t want to stop moderating comments and have spam comments fill up your site. Luckily, if you’re using WordPress, then there’s a way around this. There are dozens of anti-spam plugins you can use to help ward off those pesky spam comments. Below we profile 5 of the top anti-spam plugins you can use on your WordPress site. Recommended WordPress Hosting

    1. Akismet

    Akismet Akismet is one of the most popular and longest running WordPress anti spam plugins. Automattic, the team behind WordPress, developed this plugin. If you’ve done a default installation of WordPress, then this plugin comes atomically installed. However, to use this plugin you’ll need an API key, which is free and easy to setup. However, if you run a large commercial website, and need to moderate over 50,0000 comments per month, you'll want to upgrade to a paid plan. Whenever a new comment is submitted to your site, Akismet runs through their cloud-based algorithm, and filters out any spam comments.  

    2. Antispam Bee

    Antispam Bee Antispam Bee is a simple and free spam protection plugin. It doesn’t require you to register or setup an account, just install the plugin and you’ll be set. To filter out spam this plugin compares spam requests to an existing spam database, uses IP address checks, and Gravatar validating. Plus, this plugin will show the statistical data of spam requests blocked and filtered. There’s also a feature that will delete any stored spam every couple of days, so it won’t slow down your site. If you’re looking for a simple spam solution, then this plugin is worth trying out.  

    3. WP-SpamShield

    WP-SpamShield WP-SpamShield is a very effective way to automate spam protection. It offers two levels of protection to help protect your site from spam. The first layer of protection works to block most automated spam tools, while the second layer uses an algorithm to filter out any spam requests that have made it past the first layer of protection. You’ll also be able to protect your site against spam via comments and contact form spam. The plugin even integrates with other commonly used plugins like Gravity Forms, WooCommerce, and Contact Form 7. If you’ve been struggling with a ton of bot-created spam, this this is a great tool to use.  

    4. AntiSpam by Cleantalk

    AntiSpam by Cleantalk AntiSpam by Cleantalk operates in a similar manner to Akismet, using a cloud-based system to evaluate spam comments. However, you can also create blacklists that will block requests from certain locations, IP addresses, emails and more. With this plugin, you’ll be able to monitor spam comments and registrations across your comments, contact forms, registration pages, checkout pages, and much more. Basically, you’ll be protected across any area a spam comment might occur. This plugin is currently offering a free trial, along with an $8 per year commitment.  

    5. WordPress Zero Spam

    WordPress Zero Spam WordPress Zero Spam is an anti spam plugin that’s very easy to setup. There’s no need for any APIs or a complex setup process. It’s not quite as feature heavy as the other anti spam plugins on this list, but it’s free, quick to setup, and will get the job done. This plugin helps block spam comments and spam account registration. Plus, it also integrates with Contact Form 7, BuddyPress, Gravity Forms, and Ninja Forms, so your site will be spam free regardless of which contact form plugin you’re using. If you’re having issues with spam comments on your existing WordPress site, or you want to protect yourself before it becomes an issue, then consider using one of the plugins above.   Any plugins you’ve been using that we didn’t include in the list above? Share your favorites in the comments below.
  • 8 WordPress Plugins for Your Craft Blog

    Sunday, October 1, 2017 by

    WordPress Plugins Craft BlogsBest WordPress Plugins for Craft Bloggers

    As a craft blogger, you’ve already made a great decision by using WordPress to power your new and growing website. However, there are also hundreds of plugins you can use to more effectively grow your site and add new features without any additional effort. Your blog exists to share your passion with the world, and help people become better at their own DIY crafts. Below we highlight a few of the most useful WordPress plugins for craft bloggers that’ll help you increase your traffic, cultivate a community, and build a tribe of followers. Recommended WordPress Hosting

    Categorizing Your Craft Blog

    You probably have dozens of different categories for your craft blog and different kinds of projects you’re showcasing. Instead of making your readers dig through posts that aren’t relevant to them you can easily categorize your posts, so your users can select the kind of content they want to read.  

    1. Category Thumbnail List

    This plugin will add featured posts and associated thumbnails based upon the category of your current post. These will display at the bottom of each post and encourage readers to continue reading different posts on your site. A plugin like this can help reduce your bounce rate, as people will read multiple pages on your site, which helps to improve search engine rankings. category thumbnail list

    2. CataBlog

    This plugin allows you to create catalogs and display them as beautiful galleries in your existing posts. You can upload images, along with titles, descriptions, and links. This can be a great way to spice up your posts and highlight the different supplies you use for your craft projects. catablog

    Improve Social Sharing for your Craft Blog

    Building a social presence is a great way to improve traffic to your craft blog. The plugins below will make it easier for your readers to share your content, and more easily embed your existing social media accounts into your site.  

    3. Frizzly

    This plugin lets you add social sharing buttons to your website. One of the more useful features of this plugin is the ability to add social sharing buttons on top of your images, making it easy for your readers to share your images to sites like Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter. frizzly

    4. Simple Social Icons

    This is another plugin that lets you enable social media sharing across your site. It gives you a customizable set of icons that show up next to your blog posts. This plugin allows you to customize the social media networks you want to share, and there are over 20 options available. simple social icons

    5. WP Socializer

    Yes, another social sharing plugin! This plugin is highly customizable and gives you countless options for adding social media buttons to your site, including floating share bars, selected text share bars, mobile share bars, and more. wp socializer

    6. Instagram Feed

    This plugin lets you embed your Instagram feed into your existing website. If you have an active Instagram account then this can be a great way to encourage your website readers to follow you. You’ll be able to display your latest photos, your favorite craft projects, photos from a certain location, and more. Instagram WordPress plugin

    Get More Traffic and Subscribers to your Craft Blog

    Chances are you didn’t start a craft blog to write for an audience of zero. The plugins below will help you improve your search engine rankings, build an email list, and more.  

    7. Yoast SEO

    Yoast SEO is one of the best SEO plugins out there. It will help to optimize your existing posts and pages to better show up in the search engines. This plugin is great for beginners as it will help educate you about SEO, while you’re optimizing your site. Yoast SEO

    8. Sumo

    Sumo (formerly Sumo Me) has a great set of tools for helping your site get more traffic, and turn that traffic into email subscribers. The free version of this tool has things like pop-up email forms, social sharing buttons, analytics, heat maps, and much more. This tool is really like 20 different tools in one, and a must have for craft bloggers who want to increase their traffic levels. Sumo Hopefully, the plugins above will help you transform your existing craft blog. Any plugins we forget to mention in the list above? Please share your favorites in the comments below.
  • Best WordPress Plugins for Teachers and Online Educators

    Tuesday, August 29, 2017 by
    Best WordPress Plugins for Educators

    Best WordPress Plugins for Educators

    If you’re in the education space, then you’re probably looking for more effective means of using your website to teach and organize your materials. If you're using WordPress, then there are a variety of plugins that can help you do just that. Whether you're looking for a way to build and sell courses or turn your website into an educational hub, the plugins profiled below will help you get there. Here are six of the best WordPress plugins for educators. Recommended WordPress Hosting

    1. BadgeOS

    badgeos wordpress plugin BadgeOS is a plugin that can help to add gamification to the learning process. With this free plugin, you can do things like create assignments, award points, display leaderboards for your top students, administer badges for certain levels, and much more. Awarding your students with badges is a great way to incentivize the learning process and help your students complete their assignments. This plugin also has a series of add-ons that can let you do things like:
    •    Create various learning groups
    •    Display a visual progress map that depicts accomplishments and goals
    •    A pop-up congratulations menu that displays once accomplishments are reached
    •    Integrate with other plugins like LearnDash and Sensei
     

    2. LearnPress

    learnpress LearnPress is an incredibly feature-packed free plugin. It allows you to create both free and paid courses through WooCommerce and Stripe integration. This plugin is very easy to use, and comes with a ton of features and additional integrations that will take this plugin even further. Creating a course is quite simple; you can create an outline composed of various course sections, and then create lessons and quizzes that make up each section. The lessons are displayed in pop-up light boxes, which is a very cool effect. With their easy-to-use visual editor, you’ll be able to do things like set enrollment numbers, permit the number of retakes, set the duration of the source, and define what it takes to pass the course. There are also several integrations and extensions available both free and paid, which will greatly extend the features of the plugin, like:
    •    bbPress and BuddyPress integration to create a forum for student and teacher integration
    •    Ability to have students upload their assignments for grading
    •    Ability to bring up multiple instructors
    •    Can assign badges and progress points for course completion
    If you’re looking to build out your site with the sole focus of creating courses, then you can choose one of their themes they’ve developed to highlight the functionality of this plugin.  

    3. WP Courseware

    wp courseware WP Courseware is one of the most powerful learning management solutions out there. It’s currently being used by a ton of big names like CNN and Verizon. This plugin packs a ton of different features, but it truly shines in how easy it is for you to create courses. Its drag-and-drop functionality lets you create beautiful and engaging courses that progress in a logical manner without any previous design experience. You can even create quizzes that have time limits and a certain number of permitted retakes. It includes additional features like:
    •    Multiple question types, including multiple-choice and open ended
    •    Ability to upload files to accompany your lessons
    •    A course outline widget to easily switch between lessons
    •    A progress widget to help visualize course progress
    •    Drip-feed course delivery
    •    Module and course completion certificates
    •    And much more
    They even offer integration options with existing software you might be using, like OptimzePress, Slack, OntraPort, Visual Composer, and more.  

    4. LearnDash

    learndash LearnDash is another incredible all-in-one learning management platform. With this plugin, you can create courses that include multiple lessons and quizzes. Their extensive quiz functionality offers seven different question types in multiple multimedia formats. The quizzes have built-in features that include certificates based on performance, and even a leaderboard for your top students. There’s an analytics feature so teachers can get a detailed breakdown of each student’s performance, and even renew the answers they’ve submitted. Plus, you can drop feed your courses content to students, and even create prerequisites your students will have to complete before moving on to other courses and lessons. There are a variety of integrations which extend its functionality even further, like:
    •    Free payment integration with Stripe, WooCommerce, 2Checkout and more
    •    Integration with Even Espresso to integrate live events and online courses
    •    Visual Customizer to easily create beautiful courses
    •    Dedicated forum creation, so students can socialize and support each other
    •    Front-end course creation to let your visitors easily create custom courses
     

    5. Sensei

    sensei Sensei is a plugin developed by WooThemes and allows you to create online quizzes and courses. You have tons of customization options, like having students pass a quiz before they can progress with a course, create a question bank for random question generation, create multiple choice quizzes, and much more. Each student will be given their own dashboard that allows them to track their own progress throughout the course. Plus, you can even package and sell your courses as individual productions through WooCommerce integration. There are also several extensions, which enhance the overall features of this plugin:
    •    The ability to drip feed content to your students
    •    Create certificates for course completion
    •    Attach PDF and other media files to lessons
    •    Student sharing of grades through social media
    •    And more
     

    6. LifterLMS

    lifterlms LifterLMS lets you easily create, sell, and protect a variety of online courses. You can create media-rich courses that induce text, audio, and video, so you can better cater to a wide range of learning styles. Some other features of this plugin include:
    •    Shopping cart functionality to help sell your courses
    •    Content drip feature
    •    Gamification to improve student engagement
    •    Analytics to track course progress
    •    Automatic email integration
    •    And more
    There are multiple version of this plugin, and if you’re looking for greater functionality, then you can upgrade to the Pro version. There are also multiple integrations and extensions, so you can combine this plugin with the likes of Stripe, WooCommerce, ConvertKit, and MailChimp. Whether you’re a teacher, or you’re selling courses online, the plugins above will greatly help your education-based website. You don’t need to install every plugin above, but just the ones that will help you achieve your goals.   Any plugins we forget to mention in the list above? Please share your favorites in the comments below.
  • 7 Best WordPress Plugins for Non-Profits

    Monday, June 12, 2017 by
    Best WordPress Plugins for Nonprofit Website

    7 WordPress Plugins for Non-Profits

    Sadly, a lot of stellar non-profits are limited by what they can do due to lack of funding. A website could be the solution to this problem, and you don’t have to be a tech genius to have a highly functional and useful website for your non-profit. With the help of WordPress you can transform your existing non-profit website into something that helps your organization grow. Below you’ll find the most useful WordPress plugins for non-profits and explanations of how they can help you solve specific challenges. The plugins below will help you with certain website and company issues like: overall website security, community event management, fundraising assistance, and website and community growth. Recommended WordPress Hosting

    1. Give

    Give Give is an incredible donation management plugin. This plugin allows supporters to make donations via PayPal. Sure, you could just include a PayPal donation button on your site, but this plugin extends that functionality even further. Give goes well beyond just being a simple payment processor plugin; it helps you do things like track who made donations (so you can thank them), set donation goals, and even track progress over time. Some of the main features of this plugin include:
    • Custom donation reporting
    • API support to integrate with other plugins
    • Zero commission charges from Give
    • Custom emails upon donation received
    • Goal tracking to hit funding goals
    Best of all this plugin is entirely free and will help take your online donations to the next level.  

    2. Yoast SEO

    Yoast Yoast SEO is the standard for SEO plugins. With the help of a solid SEO plugin you can help your website rank and get more traffic from search engines. Although community events and general word of mouth are both effective tools for non-profits, getting free search engine traffic can still be valuable. Even though you probably don’t have the time, or the budget, to create a full-fledged content strategy to maximize your rankings, this plugin will help you get the most from what you already have. Some of the main features of this plugin include:
    • On-site page analysis for your chosen keyword
    • Optimization recommendations
    • XML Sitemap creation and optimization
    • Meta optimization
    Yoast SEO is a great free plugin that can be a valuable addition to any non-profit website looking to amplify their existing traffic.  

    3. The Events Calendar

    Events Calendar Fundraising and hosting events are two crucial activities for any non-profit. For this reason it’s important to have an easy-to-access events calendar on your website. With the Events Calendar Plugin you can quickly setup great looking calendars that contain relevant event information. This information is invaluable to vendors, volunteers, donors, and attendees. Plus, this plugin integrates with Google Maps, so you can show the specific location of your event. Some features of this plugin include:
    • Easy and fast setup
    • Ability to save vendor and organizer information
    • Can export event details to iCal or Google Calendar
    • Widgetized for easy site placement
    If you’re looking to manage your events with even greater efficiency you can utilize a plugin add-on called Event Tickets. This plugin will give visitors the ability to RSVP to your events in order to help make planning much easier.  

    4. UpdraftPlus Backup

    Updraft Plus It’s always a good idea to backup your website on a regular basis. Sadly, a lot of non-profits neglect this and can end up losing precious files as a result. There’s nothing worse than scrambling to find a backup, only to realize your site hasn’t been backed up in years, or ever! Don’t let this happen to you. With UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup you can easily backup and restore your site. Plus, this plugin integrates with some of the most popular storage providers today. Some features of this plugin include:
    • Automatic and scheduled backups
    • Quick restore
    • File backup selection
    • Integration with storage environments like Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3 and more
    There are both free and premium versions of this plugin available, but the free version should be enough if you’re just getting started.  

    5. UkuuPeople

    UkuuPeople When you’re running a non-profit the relationships you have are everything. With this free plugin you can easily manage your contacts and relationships without the need of an expensive CRM. Plus, this plugin integrates right into the backend of WordPress, so you don’t have to leave your site to deepen valuable relationships. This plugin has a wide variety of features like:
    • Meeting assignment and management
    • File attachment support
    • People search function
    • Task assignment
    • Email list integration
    • Relationship tracking
    If you’re looking for a way to manage your relationships without the need of an expensive CRM, then give this plugin a try.  

    6. Wired Impact Volunteer Management

    Wired Impact Having a steady supply of volunteers is absolutely crucial for the survival of your non-profit. However, it can be difficult to keep in touch with your volunteers if you don’t have a system in place. This plugin is that system. This plugin will allow you to post volunteer opportunities as they arise, track participants, and much more. Some great features of this plugin include:
    • Create on-site sign up forms for volunteers
    • Send out reminder emails to volunteers
    • Quickly post new volunteer opportunities
    • Track participants and volunteers
    If your non-profit needs a steady supply of volunteers, then make your life and volunteer turnout better with this plugin.  

    7. SumoMe

    Sumo SumoMe is a great website enhancement plugin. SumoMe offers an entire suite of tools to help grow your site and retain your readers. This plugin is the perfect compliment to any existing website strategies you’re employing to gain traffic, collect leads, and retain readers. There are a ton of features of this plugin like:
    • Pop-ups to help grow your email list
    • Website analytics and monitoring
    • Heat maps to see where your visitors are clicking
    • Social sharing buttons
    Even if you just end up using one of the many features this plugin offers, it will be worth your time. There’s both a free and paid version of this plugin available, but the free features will be more than enough to get started. There is a near endless supply of WordPress plugins you can utilize to improve your existing non-profit website. The above plugins are a great way to get started and will help you get the most from your website. Any stellar non-profit plugins we missed in the list above? Share your favorites in the comments below.
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