Beginner’s Guide To Essential (Free) WordPress Plugins In 2016

Most Important WordPress Plugins

Post Series: Getting Started With WordPress

  • 1.Beginner’s Guide To The Best Shared Hosting Options For WordPress
  • 2.Beginner’s Guide To Essential (Free) WordPress Plugins In 2016

Plugins are used for a number of different purposes on WordPress sites. At the time of writing this post, there are 42,421 plugins on WordPress.org’s plugin repository. You can not possibly need so many plugins and nor should you have to go through all of those plugins to find out which plugins are best for you. That’s why I’m here ?

Why WordPress Plugins ?

Well WordPress is an easy to use, reasonably powerful Content Management System. A CMS is designed to act as a platform for every type of website and not any one type of websites in specific. So it has to be a bit generalist in its approach.

Now you may want to do a couple of things with your barebones WP. Now assuming that you can code and add functions to your WordPress database, it still would be quite the hassle.

Plugins were created to solve this particular hassle.

Whilst plugins can not be tailor made for a particular website there are several plugins that cater to specific functions that will prove useful to all WordPress websites irrespective of niche of business or type of site. And apart from that there are niche specific plugins as well.

Today I’ll introduce those plugins that I think a WordPress site can not do without.

What functions do must-have plugins cater to ?

  • Security
  • Running Site Backups
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Social Sharing
  • Site Caching (WordPress performance optimization)
  • Contact Forms
  • Handling Spam Comments

We’ll look at the best few plugins in each category.

Security Plugins

Wordfence

Wordfence

Wordfence is an efficient website guard dog, it comes with a firewall, login security measures and auto scheduled scanning options.

It is a cloud powered system. The plugin works by scanning your website (WP database and files) for changes, malicious scripts or viruses and it is compared with the constantly updated repositories of plugins and themes stored on their servers.

The plugin also helps keep your website off Google’s blacklist (GSB). It does so by scanning your entire website for links you may have included which are part of the GSB, which may then cause your site to land up on the GSB.

The plugin has a basic options panel which can be used by all and an advanced options that allows for fine tuning plugin performance. This plugin promptly informs you when someone is trying to access your site when they shouldn’t be able to via email updates. The scanning options are pretty impressive and permits for checking your WP out thoroughly. With the firewall you can throttle site requests if something seems suspicious. This is useful if you ever have to fend off a Denial-of-service attack (DDoS) or brute force (automated password guessing) attacks.

Monitoring live traffic is a breeze, despite the fact that it is pretty redundant unless you are on the look out for something specific in your website’s traffic.

Live Traffic

You can block certain countries from accessing your website if you want too, although why someone would do something like that I have no clue ? Apart from the above, you can block IPs, ranges of IP addresses, enable cellphone sign-ins and also enable caching.

The premium version of the plugin offers even more in the way of security options.

Alternate Security Plugins,

  • iThemes Security
  • All In One WP Security & Firewall

The two plugins recommended as alternates are not inferior to Wordfence. And I do recommend checking them out if you have the time and pick the one that you feel has the better UI and is comfortable to use.

WordPress BackUps

Site backups are crucial.

If you run a revenue generating website or intend to make your site into one in the near future. Then time is money.

If ever your site goes down for some reason, you need to get it back up immediately. Every second your site remains offline, you lose revenue. It needs to be backed up on a regular basis with easy restoration options.

One more thing about backups you ought to know. If you host provider offers backup options, find out if their backup servers are separate from their normal servers. If not, then by putting the backup and your site on the servers in the same physical location it makes your site vulnerable to any physical catastrophe that may cause harm to your host’s servers. We need the backup in location and on a server entirely independent of your host’s servers.

UpdraftPlus

UpdraftPlus

With UpdraftPlus you can save a copy of your WP and all its contents on a number of different locations.

  • Amazon S3
  • Dropbox
  • Google Drive
  • Rackspace Cloud
  • FTP & SFTP
  • Email

And the list goes on.

You can select the backup interval according to your needs. It is best to backup your site at least once a day. The plugin permits only one backup location for the free version of the plugin. If you’d like to backup your site to more than one location, you’ll need to add a premium plugin that costs $20.

UpdraftPlus helps backup your plugins, your themes, uploads and other content. You can also run a WP database backup alternately at a different interval from your normal backup. Restoration of both files and database are easy and in most cases seamless.

This is probably the best free plugin for the job. The other plugins and services which offer the same services as this plugin does are premium services. That being said you can extend the capabilities of this plugin with the premium version which offers even more in the way of features.

Search Engine Optimization

We receive a healthy chunk of our traffic from search engines aka Google. Let’s make sure Google is your ally.
A few simple tricks enabled by a plugin will help your site with SEO. And your site will not suffer in any way due to poor search engine optimization.

WordPress SEO

A great tool for search engine optimization, we use the same on ColorLib.

WordPress SEO

It helps with a great number of seemingly small, yet cumulatively rather important things.

Plugin helps ensure titles, meta data, permalinks, breadcrumbs, RSS feed, your site’s social accounts, homepage, taxonomies and archives are in order. You can create an XML sitemap, which is basically a blueprint for your website. This is made available for a search engine’s crawler to pick up. WordPress SEO prevents the site from encountering any content duplication problems from within your own site.

It helps calculate the search engine optimization of each post you publish prior to publication. Yoast’s plugin helps shows a snippet preview of how your post turns up on a search.

Add an SEO keyword, title and meta description. You can view in the Page Analysis at the bottom of your page/post editor, the keyword density, minimum word count recommendation, the ease of content readability, number of outbound links and the social aspects of your content as well.

SEO is not the same for all sites, the process can be altered differently for Commerce sites, sites that employ geolocation to target local customers, sites that specialize in video content and even news. Yoast’s premium offerings cater to all these SEO requirements as well.

Social Media Sharing

Making your content worthy merit is good, now we need to get the word out! Social sharing plugins make it possible for your readers share your content.

The prime focus of a social sharing plugin in my opinion needs to be accessibility. Assuming someone wants to share your content, you should make the process as easy as can be. And the second thing you need to ensure is social media buttons do not clutter and overcrowd your website.

Simple Share Buttons Adder

Simple Share Buttons Adder

Simple as the name might suggest and highly effective, easy to use social sharing plugin for WordPress. The social sharing buttons can be displayed on any page or post, in the categories, archives, excerpts and the home page. The social sharing options can be placed below or above your content. And you can add it to the sidebars and footers with a text widget and a shortcode that the plugin provides.

Check out the premium version here.

Other social sharing plugins worthy of note,

  • Social Media Feather – Lightweight plugin with good social media icons.
  • Social Sharing By Danny – Minimal plugin with no bloat whatsoever, probably the fastest among the lot.

Site Caching – WordPress Performance Optimization

WordPress is dynamic and every time someone visits your site, requests are made to a database which holds your content. Accessing data from a database is time consuming and loads your servers. You can reduce both the load time and the server load by using a caching plugin.

A caching plugin essentially transforms your dynamic site into a static one. And this in effect, makes your site faster. When a caching plugin is fully operational, it does significantly affect your site’s performance.

Your site’s performance is crucial to a good visitor experience, slow websites make for terrible user experiences. Apart from that your site’s performance is factored into search algorithms and they reward speed.

WP Super Cache

WpSuperCache

I like this plugin a lot, it caters to the needs of the tech savvy and those who aren’t as comfortable with WordPress. But it certainly does not sacrifice performance.

It produces supercached files (served by PHP) which is one of the fastest caching methods you could hope to use.

Caching files involves creating a new copy of the same files and too many files can end up having an effect opposite to speeding up your site. The plugin also regularly deletes the redundant copies of your site’s files.

For many more options with caching plugins and a review in greater depth about them, read our detailed WordPress caching plugin guide.

Contact Forms

A contact form is means of communication between the web admin and the reader or a potential investor or new business partner. Whilst people now tend to use Twitter and the other social media networks to get in touch, contact forms are still a very integral part of a website. It is especially important for business oriented, revenue generating websites.

Contact Form 7

Contact Form 7

A simple way to add Contact Forms. This plugin supports CAPTCHA and Akismet spam filtering, so your mailbox isn’t flood with spam. There is nothing much more to the plugin, it just functions and that’s all you’ll need to start out. And with this contact form people will be able to get in touch with you.

We use Contact Form 7 on Colorlib as well and a sample contact form can be found here. On top of basic contact form functionality we have file upload option that helps users to attach translation files, screenshots, documents and any other files that they might want to send.

Spam Handling

You’ll probably have a hundred spam comments before you actually have a meaningful comment on your website. Spam affects your site’s credibility and is a nuisance, it must be dealt with.

The problem with dealing with spam manually is the shear volume. You receive a hundred comments, could you sift through them all sorting spam from genuine comments ? Not without wasting a great deal of time and effort.

Akismet

akismet logo

The unofficial spam defender for all WordPress sites. It was created by the team behind WordPress itself, Automattic. A great plugin that protects your site from spam for free (unless you receive in excess of 50,000 comments a month).

Akismet spam protection stats

You need to get an API key from Akismet. And then enter the same API key into the plugin Akismet. The plugin works by scanning the content of comments and it filters comments out. Certain comments which detected as bonafide spam, are blocked. The filtered comments can be approved by the web admin.

Final Thoughts

I feel all the above plugins and the purposes they serve are necessary for every WordPress site out there. So if you are creating first WordPress site, I highly recommend you use a plugin for every specific function I’ve mentioned at the start of this article.

You can use the plugins mentioned here or search for alternate options, but the plugins mentioned here are the bare minimum any site needs.

If you need any help, drop a comment below. Either Aigars or I will be happy to assist you in any way we can!

Comprehensive Backup Solutions for WordPress To Keep Your Data Safe 2016

Wordpress Backup Solutions

A ton of effort and a great deal of thought goes into building a website. And you never want to lose any of it, right ? Even the small update that you may have made just yesterday ? Websites are generally safe with WordPress as the content management system, but it may sometime happen that you simply lose all of it.

Loss of a data may hit any website and may happen for many reasons,

  • Hackers getting at the website. Host servers are often the targets of malicious attacks.
  • Host servers may be unreliable.
  • Bad development work in a free or sometimes even premium WP plugins.
  • Any natural disaster which physically harms the server.

This can put you in quite a sticky situation. But all of this can be avoided, simply by using backup. With backup, you can keep a complete and almost to the minute/ hour/ day/ week/ month updated version of your website that can be recalled (and restored) by a simple click.

You can do back up in two ways- manual and automatic. Each method has it’s own advantages and disadvantages. The method of choice depends on individual need. For a website with limited viewership and staff, manual backup will work just fine, so long as it is done diligently. With manual backups, there is more choice. But it also comes with the bother of having to sit at it regularly.

For more info on manual backups, WordPress Codex is a good read. For a website with a larger viewership and staff, it would be advisable to go in for automatic backup, as the frequency of backup required may be more. Else, the site may experience downtime while data is being retrieved. This can harm the business of traffic heavy sites.

You can choose a premium plugin, a freemium plugin (plugins that have both a free and a pro version) or a free plugin from the many plugins on offer. Free plugins that are popular have mostly been rated by thousands of users and this can help you pick the right one.

Plugins that make you reach for your wallet generally have good customer support. Premium plugins are also more regularly updated and offer security features as add ons. While you can check out all the features of a plugin before choosing, the features that you ought not to miss checking up on are,

  • Ability to back up your entire website -database, files, themes and everything else.
  • Automation of backups and restoration.
  • Easy to use, even for a novice.
  • Good customer support.
  • Cloud storage for backups, which you means you can access them from any location or device.

There are a few things that you must do with almost military regularity while backing up your website,

  • Always backup and restore before every upgrade.
  • Backup schedule must sync with your blogging / update frequency.
  • Spam filter and stat plugins need not be backed up as they add little value to your site and simply take up server space.
  • Occasional manual backup to be doubly safe and to perform checks on the automated system.

A handy tip – running a backup causes a load on your server and this may result in unfinished backups. When any limit is reached on shared hosting services, the backup process may pause and then resume. So it may be a good idea to increase your PHP limit for the duration of the backup.

We sifted through some premium, freemium and free backup services and plugins and take you through the features of a few in this post. Premium plugins do mean money from your pocket, but it is money well spent knowing your website is safe. It literally buys you peace of mind.

Premium Plugins/ Services

VaultPress

This is a service established by Matt Mullenweg, the co-founder of WordPress and team at Automattic. The VaultPress plugin connects the websites to the servers at VaultPress. VaultPress makes it easy to keep the backup updated with every post, picture, page, comment, revision and setting.

VaultPress

VaultPress is optimized for WordPress powered sites and can,

  • Automatically back up your site in real time, as well as daily. Back up is incremental, which means it creates a backup of what has been updated within minutes of the updating your software. This ensures efficient use of server resources.
  • Perform security scans daily and detect threats.
  • Monitor backup activity in real time.
  • Automatically fix security threats and notifies you.
  • Send emails to you of any suspicious activity on your website.
  • Maintain a backup history that you can access for easier restoration points.
  • Restore a backup automatically if FTP or SSH information is provided.
  • Generally safeguard your site with the help of WordPress experts.

VaultPress packages start at $5 per month and goes up to $29 per month, with a 30 day money back guarantee. You can upgrade, downgrade or cancel packages at any time. The rates are on a per site basis and you will have to shell out more if you want the service for more than one website.

VaultPress makes it easy to backup with it’s impressive services. It also has more security features than Backup Buddy, our next plugin. It has over 20,000 active installs and a star rating of 4.7 on WordPress.org.

Backup Buddy

This is a plugin authored by iThemes, a WordPress development studio. It is a completely reliable back up system for WordPress sites.

BackupBuddy

The plugin has many features that come in handy to restore your website from scratch,

  • Both quick, small and frequent backups as well as complete backup of the database, files , themes and everything else on the website.
  • Sending backed up files to an offsite storage like Stash, which is Backup Buddy’s own storage facility or any external facility like Google Drive, Dropbox, Amazon S3, Rackspace Cloud, FTP or email.
  • Automatic backups that can be scheduled and sent to offsite storage.
  • Creating custom profiles for backups to use their own settings and exclusions.
  • Exclude files and tables, so that data heavy files do not have to be backed up every time.
  • Moving a site to another server or domain directly from the WordPress dashboard by creating a database and entering those database credentials during the import process.
  • Replacing all the URLs when you migrate to a new site.
  • Handling even serialized data which is complicated, which most other plugins cannot.
  • Limiting the size of your backups in storage to prevent overflow.
  • Do regular malware checks.
  • Email notifications for actions received or completed.
  • Scanning and repairing database for common issues.
  • Replacing text throughout the entire site.
  • Backup Buddy users are entitled to 1 GB of free storage space on Stash.

Backup Buddy plans range from $80 per year for 2 sites to $297 per year for any number of sites.

This plugin is quite the favorite of many WordPress developers as it allows them to custom build an entire site locally or on a temporary domain and then migrate the entire site to a live client domain. It has an active install count of 700,000 with a 4.5 star rating on WordPress.org.

BlogVault

BlogVault aims to be the safest and best way to back up a blog. It is a topnotch service that ensures the reliability of your website. The team at BlogVault provides great customer support.

blogvault

The services of BlogVault includes,

  • Complete backup of your site, including files and database.
  • Migration services.
  • Fully automated restore.
  • Test restore.
  • Encrypted and secure backups.
  • Security features.
  • Supports multisite backups.
  • A history of backups.

2 Plans are offered – Basic at $9 per month and Unlimited at $99 per month. What many customers like about this service is their Test Restore option. This option can be very useful when you are not sure about which version of the backup you want to restore. You can then restore it to a test server at blogVault and see it working like an actual website.

BlogVault scores over Backup Buddy in offering a 7 day free trial, test restore, different versions of backups, offsite backup at no extra cost and complete service. Also, storage is not at your end and backups are incremental which means your server space is not taken up.

BlogVault even backs up read only versions of your website. But unlike Backup Buddy, blogVault needs an ongoing subscription. And the backup dashboard is not in WP Admin. BlogVault has more than 10,000 active installs and a rating of 4.3 WordPress.org.

CodeGuard

CodeGuard is a fast and reliable backup service which tracks your website daily. The plugin offers a precise and time saving automated solution. Full site recovery is possible with a great level of simplicity.

CodeGuard

CodeGuard offers,

  • Daily automatic backup, daily monitoring and one click restore.
  • Unlimited databases.
  • Back up retention period starts at 30 days.
  • On demand backup (not for the basic package).
  • Change alert notifications and custom notification filtering.
  • Downloadable zips and one click restore.
  • Varying levels of access for employees.
  • Reporting on initial backup/ activation tracking and daily backup tracking.
  • Email (all packages) and phone support (not for the basic package).

The packages range from $5 to $299 per month which cover 1 to 100 websites and offer 5 to 500 GB of storage per site. All packages except the basic come with advanced security features.

CodeGuard encrypts all passwords and backups and uses secure connections wherever possible. An independent agency tests it annually for vulnerabilities and no data breach has been reported until recently.

Snapshot Pro

Snapshot Pro is a premium plugin from WPMU’s development team. On the click of a button, a complete archive of the entire website as at a particular point of time can be created and the whole archive can be restored at a desired destination. It is specially relevant to multisite admins to create snapshots of their database on all the sites.

snapshot

Additionally, you can

  • Have a quick view of server info.
  • Manage memory usage and zip archive.
  • Include media files and exclude specific files.
  • Set custom backup folders.
  • Automatically delete the earliest backup.
  • Schedule backups and set up backup interval or even backup manually.
  • Download log files and mirror sync.

Snapshot Pro also has the advantage of multisite global file exclusions, size segmenting which reduces timeouts, multisite compatibility, and integration with Dropbox, S3, Google drive, FTP and Secure File Transfer Protocol. The plugin comes with a tag of $40.

The free version has not been updated in over 4 years and may have compatibility issues with recent versions of WordPress. It has about 4000 active installs with a star rating of 4.7 0n WordPress.org.

myRepono WordPress Backup plugin

Using online and web based management system, myRepono online website backup service allows automation of backup of your entire WordPress site, database, templates, plugins, PHP and user data.

myrepono

All restoration is managed through online tools ensuring that the site is alive again very quickly.

  • Backup unlimited WordPress files and data.
  • With the help of web tools, back up individual files or complete folders.
  • Backup individual MySQL tables or entire MySQL database.
  • Files are encrypted and stored securely.
  • Restore files individually or en masse from your backup.
  • Backups can be compressed to almost 10% of their original size.
  • Schedule back up as you wish.
  • Compatible with 99% of web servers and hosting companies.
  • All systems audited daily for security.

It is not free and has a pay as you go system with a $5 free trial credit. At just about a penny a day, it is good value for money. It has about 3000 active installs with a star rating of 4.1 on WordPress.org.

Akeeba

Akeeba is a plugin that claims to backup and restore your entire website in seconds. The backup can be done in standard zip formats, highly optimized JPA archives or AES 128 secured JPS archives based on your choice.

Akeeba

Migrate the blog to another server, move it to another location or create an exact clone of your WordPress site with Akeeba. Many users have reported issues with this plugin.

Freemium Backup Plugins

Updraft Plus

Updraft Plus is an easy to use and can be configured intuitively. It is the highest ranked backup and restore plugin on WordPress.org.

UpdraftPlus

Free and premium versions are available and the premium version comes with quite a number of added features.

  • Intuitive interface and multisite compatible.
  • Supports manual and automatic backups.
  • Schedules can be customized and files and database can be backed up on separate schedules.
  • Select files to backup.
  • Supports cloud backup to Updraft Plus Vault or to Amazon S3, Rackspace, Dropbox, Google drive (Microsoft One Drive, Google cloud storage, FTP, SFTP additional in premium).
  • Back up to Updraft Plus Vault is a one click connection.
  • Site duplicator/ migrator can copy files. Restoration is an add on.
  • Failed uploads are automatically retried.
  • Database backups can be encrypted to enhance security (premium).
  • Encrypted transfer to cloud storage (premium).
  • Backup logs maintained and reports sent.
  • Database, themes, content, plugins and ‘other’ content placed in separate backup files.
  • Download directly from your WordPress control panel.
  • Download and restore backups done by some other plugins like BackWPup.

The premium version can automatically back up before every update and support for additional backup locations. 1 GB of free storage in Updraft Plus Vault is made available, with the option to purchase more.

The starting price for premium versions are $70. It has about 500,000 active installs with an impressive star rating of 4.9 on WordPress.org.

WP Database Backup

With Database backup plugin, you can create and restore backups in push button mode. The backups can be automated or manual.

WP-database-backup

The free version includes these features,

  • Download backup directly from your WordPress dashboard.
  • Auto backup on a repeating schedule.
  • One click restoration.
  • Easy to install and use.
  • Save backup file in zip folder in local server as well as send it to destination in zip format.
  • Database backup list pagination.

A premium version is also available which has added features like backup of selected files, manual backup, multisite compatibility, PclZip option and support. It has about 30,000 active installs with a star rating of 4.1 on WordPress.org.

BackWPup

BackWPup is a plugin from MarketPress , a place where you can buy WordPress add-ons. Buyers recommend it as reliable and easy to use.

BackWPup

It has an intuitive interface which guides you through the process and multiple archive formats.

  • Database backup.
  • Check and repair database.
  • Backup archives and log file management.
  • WordPress XML export.
  • Log report via email.
  • Backup as email, or to Microsoft Azure, Rackspace, Drop Box, S3, FTP server and Sugar-sync as well as to your web space.

The restore facility has not been advertised, and some WordPress community members have commented that this is absent in this plugin. The free version is downloadable from WordPress.org. With the free version, you can basically do a manual backup to an external storage and automatic backups are not possible.

The premium version has additional features like backup to Amazon Glacier and Google Drive, differential backups, complete database check,compression and support, complete file backup and multi site support, premium support and automatic updates from Press box.

The purchase price varies from $75 to $190 and renewal is optional after 12 months. It has about 400,000 active installs with a star rating of 3.9 on WordPress.org.

Duplicator

Technically, Duplicator is site migrator plugin, but it can also be used for general backup and restore. Scheduled automated backups are not possible with this plugin and this maybe a drawback. It’s USP is that it can clone and migrate a site from one location to another.

Duplicator

It doubles as a simple backup solution, but you need to have a fair amount of technical knowledge to be able to work with this plugin. It may be the ideal one for developers who build a website in local environment and then migrate it to a live location.

Or to pull a site down to your own machine for testing and validation. Duplicator Pro, the premium version takes it to the next level. It has about 500,000 active installs with a star rating of 4.9 on WordPress.org.

Free Plugins

BackUpWordPress

BackUpWordPress can backup your entire site at a schedule that suits your needs. It is free and easy to use.

backupwordpress

The features that make this plugin popular are,

  • Works on both Windows and Linux server.
  • Requires little memory, so ideal for shared environments.
  • Can manage multiple schedules.
  • Excludes files and folders from your backups.
  • Translations in many languages are available.

Before tapping the Buy button for this plugin, readers must be aware that quick restore is not an option and sending backups to storage like Dropbox and Google drive is a paid add-on.

The extension costs $99. With both the free version and the paid extension, it is difficult to migrate a website. It has about 200,000 active installs with a star rating of 4.7 on WordPress.org.

WordPress Backup to Dropbox

Downloading and installing WordPress Backup to Dropbox free plugin takes no time at all. You have to simply pick the day and time for backup. After that, you can sit back and watch the files being downloaded into your Dropbox. The plugin connects to Dropbox via OAuth. Files can be excluded from backups.

WordPress BAckup to DropBox

Premium extensions are available. However, restoration from backup is not available and as compression is not possible, backup takes a good deal of time. It has about 100,000 active installs with a star rating of 3.8 on WordPress.org.

WP-DB-Backup

Only core WordPress Database tables can be backed up with WP_DB_Backup. But this should not pose a real problem if you can backup your files physically using FTP. Not much support, even via forums.

Wp-DB-Backup

The source code is available on Github. It has about 500,000 active installs with a star rating of 4.6 on WordPress.org.

Cyan Backup

Cyan backs up your entire website and database into a zip file as per a schedule. You can specify which files and directories should and should not be backed up.

Cyan

The backups can be stored remotely, but there is no restore option. It has about 2,000 active installs with a star rating of 4.1 on WordPress.org.

XCloner

XCloner is a full backup and restore solution for WordPress. It will backup and restore both files and database. It is designed for PHP and MySQL files. It uses open source technology to back up content.

Xcloner

It has about 70,000 active installs with a star rating of 4.2 on WordPress.org.

Some other free plugins that can be mentioned include,

  • Keep Backup Daily will back up mySql tables and email it daily, weekly, monthly or yearly.
  • Complete Central Backup takes an instant live backup of your entire site. Can upgrade WordPress or plugin without losing any backup data.
  • S3Bubble Amazon S3 Backup keeps your data secure in a totally controllable way. It has a secure installation process and backup analytics. High level of compression and security is possible.
  • WP Time Capsule which is free and makes possible incremental backups and one click restoration.

Hybrid services

Manage WP

ManageWP is a basket of services that takes care of your entire WordPress needs. It puts all your WP sites in one dashboard and offers single click backup and restore as a part of the basket. The backups are reliable, with automated schedules and has all the storage options of the other plugins.

The plans start with $0.8 per website per month for individual bloggers to $4.8 for large businesses. Considering that their services include entire WP management, that’s a steal. It also offers a free trial.

CMS Commander

CMS Commander also manages all your WordPress sites in one Dashboard. You can manage up to 5 websites for $8 per month and up to 200 sites for $75 per month. A free trial is available.

WordPress Service Companies

All the plugins and services discussed here offer just that – plugins and services, and you have to do the actual backup yourself. But there are companies offering to actually do all this for you and you can find some of them listed below.

They undertake to carry out real time cloud backups, WordPress update management, 24/7 security monitoring and hack cleanups, eCommerce support, uptime monitoring, site care boost, performance optimization, monthly SEO and social audit, along with other services.

  • WP Site Care – a company that offers friendly and professional WordPress support. Plans range from $79 to $299 per month.
  • WP Valet – a full service team that acts as web support valets. They can be contacted for a quote.
  • WP-Butler – a company that promises to take care of all your WordPress worries. You pay for the services you choose.
  • WP-Upkeep- makes maintenance of WordPress sites easy for a bill that can be either $70 or $250 per month.
  • WP-Tonic- also offers WP maintenance at $49.99 to $89.99 per month.

Conclusion

With hackers becoming more sophisticated, the importance of security cannot be overlooked. There is a growing realization of this and nowadays it is becoming the norm to incorporate security throughout the software building process, rather than something that is added at the end.

At our end, the basic minimum that we can do to keep our websites safe is to install and use a backup solution. You can choose any of the options discussed here, depending on the unique needs of your website. Or if you find better alternatives, do write in so we can expand our options.

Managed WordPress hosting services like WPEngine also provide backup services as part of their offerings. I felt including it here wouldn’t really be fair to talk about hosting services, given the depth of the topic. I have however discussed in great length, “How To Choose The Right Hosting For Your WordPress Website”.

How to Make a WordPress Website – Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

How-to-setup-website

An easy step-by-step website setup guide written by web developers who have created hundreds of websites and helped thousands of others to create their own website.

6 reasons why you’ll love this awesome website setup guide:

Beginner-Friendly

This guide is very detailed, comprehensive and easy to follow even if you’re not tech-savvy.

Up-to-Date

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At Colorlib we spend a great deal of time reviewing products and providing good reading content for our readership. Many of whom are familiar with the workings for a website running on WordPress. This guide is intended to help anyone who is creating their first website, likely with WordPress. It’s the platform we recommend and use for our website.

A step by step tutorial – we start off with finding the right content management system, choosing a domain name, then the right web hosting service, adding the right themes, plugins and customizing your site’s appearance. By the time you are done with this how to make a WordPress website for beginners guide you’ll have a full fledged website ready to go!

This guide contains three simple and easy-to-follow steps:

STEP 1

Choose the right platform for your website

STEP 2

Choose the right website name (domain) and hosting

STEP 3

Configure your newly created WordPress website

Step 1

Choose the right platform for your website

What is a Content Management System?

A content management system (CMS) in simple terms, is a platform of sorts or a mechanism which permits you to create your content and publish it on a website. Let’s say that it is a coat hanger stand with the coat being your content.

It is software that is installed on your host’s server. Your host provider will likely have a one click installation process to help you get your CMS installed. Once it is installed, you can log in to your site as the admin and add photos, text and other content. You can use the content you’ve added to create blog posts and other forms of content like a product page or display a work portfolio on your website.

A CMS is way more than just a means to an end, you can install a theme which is a modified template to suit the specific niche and purpose of your site. With the template added, you can customize the appearance of your site. You can add plugins to add function to your site, for example a social sharing plugin to help spread the word about your site via social networks.

All of this and more can be accomplished with a Content Management System.

Which CMS is best for you?

An overwhelming majority of websites use WordPress. The other two options that lag way behind in comparison to WordPress (certainly in popularity) are Joomla and Drupal.

WordPress

The ideal option for someone who’s creating his or her first website. It has considerable scalability and works well with low and medium traffic websites. We receive 1.5 million views every month and we run WordPress, so that gives you an idea of what medium traffic constitutes if you were wondering. Even large websites such as TIME Magazine, CNN, TED, Techcrunch, NBC and others use WordPress to server millions of pageviews each day.

WordPress has a great number of points that can be made in favor of its use.

  • Easy To Install: Most hosting services have one click installation options for WordPress given the number of people who use it.
  • Strong Community & Open Source: It is free and used by a lot of people. There are a plethora of free themes and plugins that you can leverage for your site. Apart from the freebies, premium themes and plugins are cheap and come with excellent support services from their providers. If you ever have a doubt or a problem a simple Google search can answer your query. If fact, I’ll go so far as to say you’ll find the answer to your doubts answered by the first three results of a Google search. A strong community will aid in your WordPress initiation process should you ever encounter any hiccups. And you can always drop your comments here either Aigars or me will be sure to respond to the at the earliest opportunity.
  • Ideal For Non tech savvy online entrepreneurs: Most of the products associated with WordPress, such as themes and plugins are fairly straightforward and intuitive to use. Installing a Content Management System like WordPress is only the first step of the process, there is much more to website creation beyond that. Like WordPress which is easy to install and configure, the tools that you’ll require to make your website whole are easy to handle.

Two not so quite favorable things about WordPress

  • One drawback of WordPress, it may become unwieldy if your site grows far too large and receives an enormous amount of daily traffic. The cost of your hosting goes up. But we are talking about traffic in the order of millions here and it isn’t something you should let bother you for now.
  • Another potential problem is the quality of free plugins and themes. While most are good and have fairly high security standards, you’d should be wary of unknown third party plugins. WordPress is a secure platform out the box, but adding third party software while exercising poor judgement is a bad idea. That being said security vulnerabilities are generally fixed as soon as they are detected.

As you can see WordPress is by far the most popular content management system and is used by 65% CMS powered websites worldwide.

The thing you need to know is all CMSs have one drawback or the other. And for a new web admin, WordPress is the best way to go! But I’ll talk about Drupal and Joomla, all the same. You should certainly be aware of them, should you decide to switch your CMS at a later point in time. And it will also tell you why perhaps Joomla and Drupal are not best suited to the needs of beginner.

Drupal

Unlike WordPress, Drupal is not too well suited for the technically inept or a first time website developer. Drupal is an open source CMS and is largely utilized by big corporations with vast websites and high traffic loads. It has its own customization possibilities with themes and plugins created to add value to Drupal sites. Drupal websites are a bit faster and little less taxing on the host’s server resources.

But if you’re new to web development, it isn’t for you. Why? It is more complicated than it needs to be to meet your requirements. It is designed for complex, vast websites with high traffic loads, which your new website will not be to begin with. Given that, there is no need to add to the difficulty of the website creation process unnecessarily. And besides, you can always switch to Drupal at a later date.

Joomla

Open source and free like the previous two platforms. It is a tad better than the other two when it comes to creating a community of users (like a small social network or tight knit community for your readers) and is far more amenable to creating social websites with a lot of interaction and engagement from users. It is easier to handle than Drupal and offers more than WordPress in terms of performance and tweakability.

And again my reasons are the same for not recommending it for you, unnecessary complication that you do not need.

WordPress – Probably the best option for you!

If you are starting off with a new domain name with no traffic so to speak of, you are better off with WordPress. It is exceedingly easy to use, it is free and comes with an enormous number of premium quality free themes and plugins. The cost of hosting is low and many hosts provide for easy one click installation of WordPress. And since a growing percentage of online entrepreneurs do not know how to program in HTML, CSS and PHP, WordPress is the best choice as it offers excellent customizability even to WordPress newbies.

Click here to summarize, why WordPress is the best choice, if you still harbour any lingering doubts. (Optional)

  • Free – Who isn’t happy about this?
  • Strong Community – Someone to answer your questions, if it isn’t answered on the hundreds of niche WordPress sites to begin with.
  • Frequently Updated Platform – Updates are important (Fix bugs, security, constantly improving features and performance and ensure compatibility with all WordPress products)
  • A host of themes and plugins that are free – Keep costs low.
  • Excellent options for premium plugins and themes – That little extra at a reasonable price.
  • Easy to use and beginner friendly – Designed for you and non programmers.
  • Secure platform out of box – Important for revenue generating websites
  • Scalable for medium traffic – For when you grow fast and need to accommodate more traffic.
  • Multiple options for hosting including managed hosting services (Managed hosting – You focus on content, your host takes care of everything else)
  • Wealth of choices for running site backups – Site Backups are a big deal and extremely important for medium traffic sites, it ensures minimal downtime if your site should ever be hacked.

Do not get confused with WordPress.com, which is a blog site built with WordPress. What you are building here is a yoursitename.com as opposed to yoursitename.WordPress.com. And if you do not know the differences between the two, please read <this post that elaborates differences between two.>

Now that you have chosen the best platform for your website you can proceed with the next step.

Step 2

Choose the right website name (domain) and hosting

Before you choose a domain name, you’ll need be sure of the niche you’d like to concentrate on. Selecting a niche area to focus on, is an important task in and of itself. To create a revenue generating website it is critical that you research the target keyword pool and the niche it is derived from. For the time being, just make sure it is something you like and are genuinely passionate about. And ensure that you have reasonable expertise in the subject matter involved.

You can literally register any available (not registered yet) domain name but here is something I recommend:

  • Business website – If you are making a website for your business it would be best to choose a domain name that is your company name or brand. An example domain name would be YourComapanyName.com or YourBrandName.com
  • Personal website – If it is going to be your personal website it would be great to go with com
  • Hobby website – The sky’s the limit πŸ™‚

Most popular domain names extensions (the end part of website address, like .com) are .com, .org, .net, but in recent years a huge amount of new domain extensions have been introduced (Wikipedia). Now you can register crazy domain names such as YourCompanyName.pizza, YourCompanyName.green, or YourName.ninja.

However, for your first website I recommend to stick with .com, .net and .org. New domain extensions haven’t gone mainstream yet and might confuse your visitors. Even some social networks, services and apps have problems displaying these new domain names that’s why I advice to avoid them, at least for now.

Choosing The Right Domain Name

The next step in our process involves choosing a domain name. A domain name is basically the URL one types into a browser’s address bar to visit a particular website.

Getting the right domain name is crucial. A few things you need to keep in mind while considering domain name choices.

  • Short – Shorter names work better when it comes to remembrance and are easy to type as well.
  • Brandable – Remember your domain also runs to your brand, make sure it isn’t memorable for all the wrong reasons.
  • Memorable – People forget easily, come up with a name that first time visitors to your site are likely to remember.
  • Catchy – You want a domain name that rolls off the tongue and describes what you do.
  • Easy to type.
  • Includes keyword (optional) – Identify the right keywords or combination of keywords. The closer your domain name is to your site’s niche, the better for search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Niche specific (optional) – If you are writing a website about a specific niche check if there are popular abbreviations that you can use. For example, in WordPress there are many highly ranked websites with “wp” as part of their name. WPEngine.com, a managed hosting service for WordPress.

Funny domain name mistakes

Here are some domain names someone have registered without realizing what a huge mistake they have made:

  • Speedofart.com – Speed of Art
  • Choosespain.com – Choose Spain
  • Gotahoe.com – Go Tahoe

Click here to read advanced tips about domains (Optional)

1. Now to get yourself a domain, you need a domain registrar. A domain registrar is basically someone or an organisation that reserves your right to use a domain for a given period of time. Normally web hosting companies perform the function of a domain registrar in addition to being a web hosting service provider. So you do not have to be concerned with this specifically as your web hosting service will also play the role of domain registrar.

This option is great if you have multiple domains and tend to switch your hosting provider regularly. Not that we would recommend it but it does happen. Also it is more secure to keep your hosting separated from domain registrar. In case your hosting accounts gets compromised hackers won’t get access to your domain.

2. If you are exceedingly confident of your ability to generate revenue, you might consider buying a domain name that has been parked by someone else. For various reasons, sometimes the premium you end up paying for a domain name may be well worth the expense. You can buy domain names on Flippa.com or Godaddy.com but consider this wisely, we wouldn’t want you to pay a hefty price only to find out that the domain name isn’t worth it later.

Hosting

You really have two options when it comes to hosting provider types recommended for WordPress newbies.

  • Shared Hosting
  • Managed WordPress Hosting

I do not recommend anything other than a shared hosting plan for first time webmasters. All other forms of hosting that you may have heard of like Virtual Private Hosting (requires reasonable technical know how), managed WordPress hosting (too costly) might not be the right choice for your first website. As your knowledge and business grows you might consider VPS or fully managed WordPress hosting but let’s leave that for another post.

Shared hosting is the way to go and later we can talk about upgrading your host. We’ve recommended two shared hosting services and have also added elaborate installation processes for WordPress with both of them. Both hosting providers offers domain registration and website hosting and that’s exactly what we need to create an awesome website.

BlueHost

To make WordPress installation process easier we have created a short video that will guide you through installation process.

[embedded content]

Click here to visit Bluehost and proceed with your first website setup.

If you had some problems understanding setup process outlined in video you can follow steps below.

  1. Choose the right hosting page. I’d suggest the starter package. It offers plenty of speed, performance, functionality and storage for your first website. You can upgrade your hosting plan as your website grows>
  2. bluehost pricing options

  3. You will be prompted to choose a domain name as you can see in example below. Double check your domain name to avoid typos.
  4. bluehost - choose your website name

  5. And on the next screens, enter your personal information and credit card details. And complete payment.
  6. signup-to-bluehost-hosting

  7. In Bluehost cPanel (administration panel), find a button which says Install WordPress
  8. bluehost-cpanel-demo

  9. Click on a green Install button to proceed with WordPress installation
  10. one-click-bluehost-wordpress-instal

  11. Now select if you want to use your website with or without “www.” at front of your website name (www.YourWebsite.com or YourWebsite.com). If you can’t decide you can leave it as is. It can be easily changed afterwards.
  12. choose-www-domain-name

  13. The details for the WordPress installation like email ID, username and password can be set. And tick all the necessary conditions under a licence agreement.
  14. advanced-wordpress-bluehost-setup

  15. And install.
  16. WordPress installation in progress

  17. Once installation is complete you will see a clear message on top saying “Your Install is Complete!” and button saying “View Credentials”
  18. wordpress login info bluehost

  19. By clicking on that button you will be sent to a page where you will be able to find your newly installed WordPress login credentials.
  20. WordPress login credential reveal on Bluehost

  21. Now you can login on your website by clicking link that says YourWebsitName.com/wp-admin.

SiteGround

SiteGroud’s shared hosting plan has a similar, equally easy to use WordPress installation and domain registration process. The site asks you whether you have a domain name or need to register one, in our case since you are creating your first site you need to register a domain.

Following the domain registration you can follow this easy to use this three step tutorial for a guided WordPress installation. It is best to select “Get WordPress Preinstalled in this account” and you will not need to get your hands dirty. You’ll need to set admin email ID, username and password, you’re set!

SiteGround vs BlueHost

Really anyone’s pick, I suggest that you have a look at both and decide based on which ever domain registration and WordPress installation process seems easier. But personally I feel it doesn’t matter much and you shouldn’t worry too much over which of the two hosting services to go with.

If you’d like a far more elaborate list of shared hosting service providers, check out our WordPress hosting guide.

Now that your domain is registered, hosting paid for and your WordPress installed. What’s next?

Step 3

Configure your newly created WordPress website

WordPress Admin Screens

  • Go to yourwebsitename.com/wp-admin.
  • Type in the username and password you previously entered during the WordPress installation process.

wordpress login screen

Your WordPress admin menu is available on the left side of the screen. Allowing your cursor to linger over them will open sub menus.

  • Dashboard
  • Posts
  • Media
  • Links
  • Pages
  • Comments
  • Appearance
  • Plugins
  • Users
  • Tools
  • Settings

That is a lot of stuff which you deal with. But I’ve promised to get your site up and running. So for the purposes of this post I will not be talking about Settings, Tools, Users or Your Dashboard.

I will talk about the rest of the menu options which are part of your WordPress menu. Let’s get started.

Customizing your site’s Appearance and activating a WordPress Theme

Themes (Appearances > Themes)

  1. Open Appearances > Themes. From here on have a look at the heading of each subsection if you have doubts with regards to accessing a particular part of the WordPress menu from the admin screen.
  2. install new wordpress theme

  3. And click on the “Add New” button on the top. And choose from one of the themes displayed or search for a specific theme. For a list of awesome free themes, you can check out this theme collection.
  4. install-sparkling-theme

  5. Install a new theme that you fancy and activate it.
  6. wordpress-theme-instalation-process

  7. The next part involves customization of a theme. You can access this under from Appearance > Customize. You can do a number of things to your site’s appearance from here. But that’s not the crux of this post, a theme is sufficient to start a website.
  8. wordpress-theme-customizer

Widgets (Appearances > Widgets)

Widgets are preset modules or pieces of code that add to a certain function which will prove useful for your website in some capacity or the other. Your sidebars, footers and headers can be loaded with widgets.

wordpress-widget-manager

As you can see in the above screenshot, there 6 widgets in the sidebar. These widgets include a search bar, a recent posts widget, recent comments, archives, categories and meta. Then you can see 4 footer areas where you can add widgets just the same. The number of footer, header and sidebar areas available to you depends on the theme you are using.

Widgets are not plugins, but they are small chunks of code that add a bit of function. Sometimes it may help with navigation, sometimes with social media, you can even use to add HTML to a text widget which will function as coded to do so. So widgets are a very useful tool but you need to learn a bit about them before you can use them to the fullest.

Menus (Appearances > Menu)

Menus are an extremely important for any website. They offer a means to navigate your site and its content. After all, what’s the point in creating captivating content and if your visitor can not find it easily on your site. Bad menus and navigation can lead to a high bounce rate (the number of visitors as a percentage who leave your site after just viewing just one page).

You may have seen websites with menus on the top or the side and even at the bottom. We can do all of this.

You’d like to include pages like “About”, “Blog”, “Contact” and “Our Services” as part of your primary menu. Any page you’d like displayed on your menu can be added. The number of menus and their placement on your site depends on your WordPress theme.

You can add all the stuff that you see on the left to the menu ranging from pages to products as part of your menu. Again what you can include as part of the menu depends on your WordPress theme.

wordpress-menu-manager

A good menu,

  • Is concise and minimal.
  • It is a representation of all your site’s offerings.
  • Very intuitive to use and maneuver around your site.

Keep that in mind and you should be fine.

Background (Appearances > Background)

Many website choose to have plain single color background and I am big fan of that.

The Colorlib blog has a plain white background and it keeps things simple. But the homepage of the site is pretty awesome with a purple background and our tagline.

wordpress-background-color

Websites that are media heavy, examples would include photography sites or portfolio websites have great backgrounds. If you want your website to send across a powerful visual cue to your audience use a powerful background image. Else you can simply opt for a plain color which is appropriate for any blog that emphasizes readability.

A background should not be confused with a slider image which is basically a constantly changing image that moves across or your screen or changes with fancy animation.

Adding New Plugins (Plugins > Add New)

Plugins are a scripts or pieces of code written to perform a very specific function or set of functions on your website.

A simple example would be social sharing plugin, it helps share your content across different social platforms and helps get the word out that your content is awesome. Similarly, people have developed plugins for search engine optimization, security purposes, creating and maintaining a portfolio of images, to create contact forms, for caching the list is endless.

If you want to read a detailed list of plugins that we think is absolutely essential, read this comprehensive list of essential plugins.

Adding Pages (Pages > Add New)

Pages on a website help divide your website into a requisite number of pieces to present the different sections of your site’s content. Pages are to themes like widgets are to plugins. With pages you can create specific template styles that can be called on command for different purposes that require the same or similar design. Pages are more than posts and are used for specific purposes on your site. You can create pages specifically to cater to the requirements of a Contact Us Page or perhaps create landing page.

add-new-page-wordpress

And you are greeted by a New Page, which you can now fill up. From this new screen, you can create a new page and assign page attributes.

If you either need to create a template that you’re likely to use often or need to recreate a section of your site for a specific purpose, creating a page is the way to go.

Comments (Access from WordPress menu)

Websites need readers to make them successful. Comments are a very powerful means to establish a great debate on your site and this only further adds value to your site. Hardly, one percent of the traffic that visits your site will ever comment. And that is assuming that the content is great to begin with. Driving interaction with passive readers on your site is difficult and takes time and effort.

A great post with a pre-existing comment history helps your site receive more comments. Aigars wrote an awesome post on Colorlib a while back, yet till this day it still keeps receiving comments and continues to be a great source of traffic.

WordPress-comments-preview

And remember, WordPress allows you to link your site when you comment on another person’s blog. And this may send visitors your way, if you play your cards right and make genuine attempts to offer something constructive. For this same reason, many people will leave their comments on your blog as well.

If I feel your content is great and a particular post that you’ve written is awesome, then I’ll almost jump at the chance to leave my comment first and best anyone else to first comment. Because I know eventually it will lead a few visitors back to my site.

Comments are a great way to build an awesome readership and a loyal following for your site.

Adding Content

Content is king may be a cliched line. But it is true now more so than ever before. There are many more websites now than there ever were before. You name a niche, any niche and it is bound to be saturated to the hilt with websites producing content about said niche. WordPress is a very profitable niche. Why? 50% of websites use it and many of them are new to WP. WordPress newbies and even intermediate level users require a few resources to help them get started up and make changes to their WordPress sites, not too dissimilar to the content on Colorlib πŸ˜‰ But a website like Colorlib works well and generates revenue only when we offer value to our readers.

We publish a great number of articles on premium WordPress themes and should you choose to buy one of them after clicking on our links we receive a small commission on your purchase. But truth be told, our most popular and widely read articles aren’t the ones that describe premium WordPress themes or plugins, rather they are WordPress tutorials and posts dedicated to free themes, plugins and other WordPress related articles. Because it is only when we offer value to readers that our site grows.

So based on your site’s niche and your expertise, you need to produce content that genuinely offers value to would be readers. If you intend to create your site purely for monetary purposes, it will not be successful in the long run. No wait a minute, it may still be profitable but certainly not as successful as it could have been had you tried to genuinely help your audiences.So focus on good content.

Pick your niche and offer great value to your readers. And watch your traffic grow steadily and if you are lucky, perhaps even go through the roof!

So how do you publish your content on WordPress? What are the formats available to you apart from just plain ol’ text?

Posts (Posts > Add New)

The beating heart of your site or most sites anyway. At the end of this tutorial when all’s said and done, you’ll be here to populate your site with posts. WordPress has a very easy to use posting mechanism and this one of the reasons, it is so popular.

You have two ways in which you can write your posts: one is the visual editor and the other is HTML editor. You can opt to use the visual editor to begin with, but you should know the HTML editor (referred to as text editor) is a very powerful tool to help you create the right formatting for your posts. The sooner you are comfortable with the text editor, the better of you will be. You may notice I am using the visual editor and truth be told, once I’ve added all the necessary formatting I prefer the visual editor.

add-blog-post-to-wordpress

The visual editor is very much similar to most text editors and permits you to add bold / italic effects to your text, change its font, add bulleted lists and numbered lists, align content differently and add hyperlinks. There is also a distraction free writing mode which gives you a fullscreen version of the editor.

Categories (Posts > Categories)

Categories are a means to divide your content. Categories are a big more important when your site publishes content on a number of issues. You can add categories from your Post editor or you can access it under Posts > Categories.

wordpress-categories

Now you can name the category to create one and then you can add a slug which is basically a URL add on of sorts for all your site’s posts on that specific category. For example, if I know that Colorlib produces a lot of theme collection content, I can Google search Colorlib + collections and the first search result link is – https://colorlib.com/wp/category/collections/ . With this I can view only the posts that have been published under the category, “Collections”.

So it is a very effective way to divide your site’s content and make finding stuff on your site much easier for a visitor.

Tags (Posts > Tags)

Tags are very similar to categories, except each post generally has its own set of tags. Tags are a tad more specific than categories but that apart they are the same and they aid in helping visitors find your content more easily.

Media (Media >Add New)

Media as in photos and videos are important to normal websites. They are even more so for media heavy websites. Adding media is easy with WordPress. You can either add media from Posts or you can add media directly to the media library.

You can add the image title, a caption, description to the image. But it is also important you also add the alt text which helps search engines identify your image. It is a small step in ensuring good search engine optimization.

There a lot of effects and stuff you can do to your imagery like make it pop up or use a lightbox with WordPress plugins. But that’s for another day.

Your Profile

Setting up your WordPress profile. This is rather easy to deal with. You can edit your profile from the “Edit Your Profile” on your WordPress admin screen on the top right hand corner. You can describe yourself and add the necessary social media links as well.

And to add a profile picture for your WordPress ID, you’ll need to get a Gravatar account. You’ll need an account from WordPress.com with which you can login to your site’s admin panel.

Just Start!

We have far too many inhibitions, starting stuff is one of them. It opens the door to failure.

Creating the website and generating revenue is no joke. It is hard work, sometimes seemingly unrewarding work.

Over the next few weeks and months, we’ll be launching our “Getting Started With WordPress” post series to help you out.

And apart from that if you need anything else, do let us know in the comments below! Aigars and I will always be happy to help you out πŸ™‚

30 Beautiful Websites Using The Popular Uncode WordPress Theme

Uncode Theme Examples

WordPress is a marvelous platform on which to build your website. But to add an aesthetic appeal to the website, to personalize and brand it, you need a great theme to go with it. One such awesome theme is Uncode.

Uncode is a fairly recent addition to the Themeforest stable. Created only in November 2015, it has clocked up sales of over 11,000 and earned for itself a solid 5 star buyer rating. In about 8 months it has made it to the top 10 best selling themes of all time in the creative category.

Uncode is capable of executing great ideas with minimal design. It comes loaded with features that you can pick and choose from to give your website a neat functionality and distinct identity. Whether you are a novice or a developer, the theme is a delight to work with.

Let’s take a look at what’s under the hood in Uncode.

  • Uncode offers 30+ homepage concepts and 70+ module options to choose from.
  • 6 menu styles – top right, justify, left, off-canvas, center, overlay and lateral – allow navigation starting from different areas of the website.
  • Single page menu, sticky menu and built-in Megamenu are the other menu features that can help with navigation.
  • 4 premium plugins are included for free – Visual Composer, Layer Slider, Slider Revolution and iLightbox – saves you $86.
  • Content Slider is also included.
  • Visual Composer is tailored and enhanced with additional features, permitting a high degree of customization.
  • The Advanced Adaptive Grid System is employed. This permits users and developers to set margins & gaps, and position content and design elements.
  • Hierarchical options system is followed, meaning options are grouped – so you can pick the ones you want systematically. This grouping makes it easy for you to build a layout.
  • Powered Isotope Masonry Grid helps to create flexible formats, especially for shop and portfolio pages.
  • Adaptive image system allows an image to scale automatically, and allows the developer to mark points where the image will break to fit any device.
  • Built-in header, infinite sidebars and a number of footer variations allows you to carve out spaces in your website for different content requirements.
  • To display your portfolio or blogs, 16+ built-in layouts are available, each with custom options.
  • Opt for a single page blog, if that is what you like.
  • Facebook like recommended posts system can help readers go directly to the post that interests them.
  • Beautiful media galleries, extensive thumb variations, enhanced media library and intelligent color system are included.
  • Best posts / pictures / project / client testimonials can be placed on the carousel to highlight them.
  • One page scroll, smooth scroll and smooth parallax.
  • Interactive tabs and accordions, and smart cascade options.
  • Responsive, well coded with smooth CSS3 animations.
  • Wide range of fonts to select from – BigText Font, Google Fonts, Typekit, Font Squirrel and Fontdeck.
  • 1000+ handpicked icons.
  • Standard and customized Google Maps, and Custom Maintenance Page are included.
  • WooCommerce is fully integrated, so is Contact Form 7.
  • Optimized for SEO.
  • One click import and access to complete online documentation and video tutorials, so you can set up and be on your feet quickly.
  • WPML ready, enabling translation into multiple languages.
  • RTL support for Arabic languages.
  • Social network friendly.

Let’s now see how some folks have used Uncode to build their own websites. I’ve picked 30 websites for a closer look,

Tom Robak

tomrobakphotography-photographer-langing-page

Tom Robak is a destination wedding photographer based out of London. His vocation takes him to locations in all corners of the world. And his love for travel is evident in the volume of work displayed in the blog pages of the website. He conducts workshops on wedding photography and has provided a link for those who want to sign up for a seat in the class. The website largely uses subdued colors.

David Porter

davport-personal-portfolio-website

David Porter seems to believe that out of chaos comes creativity, if his homepage is anything to go by. He is a web, print and video craftsman and the tools of his trade are scattered all over the homepage. Readers desiring to engage his services ought to take time to visit the About page, as it is filled with information about the work he has done and the skills he has acquired. Progress bars keep track of the projects he has completed.

Thomas Schuppisser

thomas-schuppisser-photography-portfoli

Thomas Schuppisser is a photographer living in Zurich. His focus is on landscapes and people. The landscapes and portraits are showcased in a portfolio on the homepage. The menu can be called and dismissed at will – it is off-canvas and slides in and out from the right side of the screen.

The Revenant

therevenant-standaard-movie-website-with-uncode

This is the German language website of the movie ‘The Revenant’ which bagged 3 Oscar awards this year. The website sports full screen images from the film on a slider. If you wish to watch the trailer of the movie, you can do so by clicking on the YouTube video embed in one of the horizontal sections. To understand the story better and to have a context of the period in which it occurred, a timeline regarding fur hunting in America can be accessed from the header. The 11 images are placed on a separate page in a slider.

CKGD.net

ckgd-freelance-graphic-designer-site-example

Chris Koch is a freelance graphic designer. He specializes in print and web design, logos and digital art. Each field is explained in the horizontal sections on the homepage on CKGD.net. Each field also merits a separate section in the portfolio page, where he tries to educate readers about graphic design, not merely showcase his work. You can also buy tees, posters and other stuff, as he sells his work on the website with WooCommerce integration.

Stay Golden

staygolden-german-site-exampleStay Golden is an agency for corporate design and branding, located in Dusseldorf. A sample of their work and the latest news items are placed on sliders in the homepage. The inner pages carry pictures of their work, the services they offer and the golden rules they stick to while carrying out work for a client. Search button is present in the header in the usual way as in most websites, but clicking on it takes a reader to a fully dark page containing only the Search feature, gently persuading a reader to continue a search.

North Trampoline

northtrampoline-ecommerce-website-exampleNorth Trampoline are makers of premium trampolines for use by sky athletes. A full screen outdoor image with a trampoline in focus is what a visitor gets to see on landing on the website. The best features of their product is highlighted with neat drawings. The different models are displayed on the homepages as well as in the Products page. A reader visiting the Athletes page will be truly inspired by the YouTube embeds of athletes in action.

Kruger & Lupis

krugeretlupis-fullscreen-site-exampleKruger & Lupis are a firm of insurance experts in France who promise to cut down on the time taken to process a claim. The progression bars and circles on their Work page gives a reader an idea of their accomplishments. In addition to an individual Contact page, a rather detailed Contact Form is also available in the footer.

Tenfold

tenfoldcreative-event-wordpress-theme-with-uncodeTenfold Creative are in the business of getting brands and campaigns to click with their target audience. Based in Auckland, they have many successful campaigns and awards to their name. The success they have created for brands within the construction industry is portrayed on this site, with a link to their main website in the footer. You can send them a message by clicking on the button placed on the right. It remains sticky and reachable even as you scroll.

Dan Ax

axvisuals-personal-site-with-uncode-themeDan Ax is a cinematographer and director of photography, and so his website is all about images – still and reel. A dark background has been used throughout the website, to portray the images strikingly. The images are tightly packed in a grid without any spaces or gaps. The Contact page is neat and innovative and the social media buttons are attractively displayed on this page.

QubaVR

qubavr-parallax-wordpress-website-exampleQubaVR is the online home of Quba Michalski, a man who answers to multiple descriptions – Creative Director, Motion Artist, Filmmaker, Problem Solver and Creative Thinker. He currently uses Augmented and Virtual Reality as the main tools to create stories and experiences. Some of his work with clients is placed in full-width horizontal sections on the homepage. By clicking on them, visitors can sample videos made with virtual reality. A blog and a full page Search feature are included in the website.

Stitched

stitched-fullscreen-uncode-theme-example

You can be forgiven if you think that the homepage of Stitched looks like an incomplete game of dots and dashes, but actually the design is appropriate. Stitched offers services to help connect like minded people, to recruit the right person and make a correct match between employer and employee. The website makes full use of the white space and the absence of a footer, to set out neatly in horizontal sections what the team can do.

The Bulletproof Musician

bulletproofmusician-uncode-music-theme-example

The Bulletproof Musician is the place where Noa offers help to performers afflicted by stage fright. The homepage is kept black and white, with the top half being dark skinned and the lower half reserved for grid images on a white background. Members can login using the breadcrumb navigation in the accent bar at the top of the website.

New Travelist

newtravelist-travel-website

Images fill the homepage of New Travelist. It serves as a forum where writers, travelers and photographers meet and inspire readers with their love for travel and places. They do this by working to create an archive of pictures and stories about every little place on the earth. Readers can virtually transport themselves to big cities, wilderness and quaint villages through the pages of the blog. You can navigate the website from the transparent header or the broad footer.

Bell

bell-integrated-marketing-agency-website

An agency that works to transform brands, communication and businesses, Bell uses the one page menu option to escort readers to the pages they want. You cannot miss the milestones they have crossed, as it is highlighted against a bright red background in number counters. The accolades the agency has earned finds a place on the slider in the body of the homepage, as well as in the footer.

Gouppercase

gouppercase-gadget-store-with-uncode

Gouppercase deals with accessories for digital products, mostly covers for mobiles and laptops. Keyboard protectors, arm rest protectors, sleeves and more are set in a grid on the homepage. The footer is dark, broad and carries links for the products, and pages. Users can sign up for the newsletter and promotional offers from the footer.

RevUnit

blog-revunit-startup-blog-example

RevUnit is a blog that is devoted to software development and marketing. Appropriately, an image of the keyboard fills the screen on the homepage. The signup button occupies a prominent place, so readers can sign up to receive content in their inbox. The blog posts are displayed in a grid format without gaps or margins. If a reader wants to know more about their work, they can follow the link to their full fledged site. The link is placed both in the header and footer.

The Stylish Citizen

the-stylish-citizen-website

The Stylish Citizen captures photographs of real life people with style and taste. The locations for the photographs are the streets of Munich and some other places. To glance through the photographs city wise or date wise, you’ll have to visit the archives, which is tightly packed with images from cities all over Europe. The About and Contact menu items share the same page.

FitBark

fitbark-animal-minitor-website-with-uncode

FitBark promotes health for dogs, helping pet owners catch the early signs of any illness or lack of fitness in their pets. The homepage sports a promotional video. With WooCommerce integration, the website doubles as an online store selling dog health monitors. The sticky header helps a user to move to any page quickly and the sticky social sidebar allows sharing on social networks instantly.

Mad About You

madaboutyou-creative-agency-with-uncode-theme

Mad About You is a brand, strategy and visual identity agency. The website is text heavy, explaining in detail the work done by the team. And so the dominant color on the pages is white, to make it easier to read the text.

Atlanta Makers

atlantamakers-fullscreen-video-background-uncode

Atlanta Makers are engaged in connecting the citizens of Atlanta to the craftspeople of their city. The full screen video shows craftspeople at work. A visitor can suggest a craftsperson’s name or start a search in the header region. To navigate the website, you have to scroll to the footer region.

Fiasko

fiasko-simple-portfolio-with-uncode

Fiasko are experts in digital communication and their website conveys a distinct identity. The one page menu is off canvas, but navigation is also possible by clicking on a vertical slider on the right. The prominent clients are displayed on a horizontal slider and a number counter keeps track of the number of YouTube views.

Metier

metierseattle-sports-team-website-example

Metier is about all things cycling, and more. It is a hub for cycles, equipment, atmosphere, food and community – all related to cycling. It has WooCommerce installed, enabling it to sell online. The homepage has a number of horizontal sections setting out the facilities and services on offer, and a user can click on any section to view the inner pages.

Parlamind

parlamind-uncode-tech-startup-site-example

Parlamind uses artificial intelligence to identify customer issues, spot trends and improve user experience. The one-page website is available both in German and in English. Although bright colors are used, the overall effect is pleasing.

Recipes.Bakers’s Cousin

recipes-bakerscousin-food-blog-example

Did you know that peanut butter can be used in so many recipes? I counted over 60 recipes in which it can be used on Recipes.Baker’s Cousin blog, all placed in a neat grid on which you can click to read the recipe. Peanut Butter was the ingredient for the contest in which bakers submitted recipes in the last month. The next month’s ingredient is Apples. Any baker desiring to submit a recipe clicks on the ‘Get a Taste ‘ Button and can submit a recipe on the main website after signing up. You’ll be glad of the Back To Top button, seeing the number of entries submitted and displayed in the grid.

Thyme

thymephoto-food-photography-website

Thyme Creative Photography are specialists in photographing food in an enticing manner. The full screen photographs on the slider on the homepage are so vivid, you can almost hear the butter sizzling in the pan. The header is transparent, but turns white and sticky as you scroll down.

Hamish Robertson

hamishrobertson-designer-uncode-website-example

Hamish Robertson is a professional photographer. His portfolio page carries exhibits styled to appear like paintings hanging on a wall, against a mute grey background. The menu is retained in the sidebar at the left, leaving the rest of the screen space available for display of photographs. Wherever required, the menu items have sub- items that are well categorized helping a visitor to navigate the website easily.

Virtus

virtusnaturalskincare-minimal-brand-website-with-uncode

Virtus offers natural skincare for men. The homepage is minimal, with white colored text against a uniform grey color background, and has an off-canvas menu that slides in from the left.

Titlegraphic

titlegraphic-digital-creative-agency-website

Titlegraphic is a digital creative studio catering to both established and new businesses. All the pages kept short.The portfolio is well categorized and slotted to different sub pages. The Call to Action buttons are conveniently placed for a reader to see their work and reach out to them.

HostPress

hostpress-uncode-wordpress-hosting-website

HostPress is a managed WordPress hosting services provider located in Germany. Their website is kept simple and uses shades of blue and grey on a white background. The header and footer are plain and carry the logo. The homepage carries a video demonstrating the one-click WordPress installation. In the span of 5 pages – homepage, features, Why HostPress, Plans and Contact – a whole load of information about their services is packed.

Mast & Falls

mastandfalls-interior-design-uncode-theme-example

Mast &Falls is an interior design agency started by two friends with a passion for creativity. The creativity is on display in the design of their website too, built with Uncode. Full screen images on sliders carry pictures of beautiful interior works. Sliders are used for carrying client testimonials and post titles. Their key strengths are highlighted in the sidebar. A helpful Scroll to the Top button can be found on all the pages.

And Finally

Uncode is a highly flexible, customizable and creative multipurpose theme. As one of the top selling creative themes, I’m sure there are many more great websites on the internet built using this theme. You can check out more websites in the Uncode WordPress Theme Showcase. If you’ve come across any, or if you run any awesome website on Uncode, drop us a line in the comments below.

How Do Blogs and Websites Make Money Online? Monetize Your Blog For Maximum Revenue.

Make Money With Blog Website

There are a lot, I mean a lot of ways to make money with a blog or a website. If you are wondering how you are going to monetize your site, then you’ve come to the right place.

I’ll discuss all the strategies and methods that the most successful of websites use to generate income. When you are done reading this post, you will be aware of all the ways a website can make money and you will be armed with the knowledge and tools necessary to convert your site into a cash machine.

Before we start, I’d like to reiterate as I have in the past. First and foremost, provide value to your readership. Making money will be easy once you’ve created a loyal readership in the right niche. Always remember if you want to create a cash cow of a site, then you need to pick an industry that is thriving and you know a lot about this subject or at least are willing to learn. It also helps if there is less competition in terms of search engine ranking in that particular niche. You can use a tool like SEMRush to help you with that. But enough of that, let’s look at how you can make money online!

If you have created a high/medium traffic site in the right niche, you’ve hit the jackpot. But we have to dig a bit before we hit gold, using the right revenue generation model can make an enormous difference to your revenue numbers.

Generally, site owners make money by

  1. Selling your own stuff (services, products of their making both digital & non-digital, eBooks and other premium content)
  2. Advertising & Affiliate Income (selling and promoting services and products made by others)

At the end of it all, it comes down to one of aforementioned two – You either sell your products and services or you can act as a conduit for the sale of another’s product or services.

Let’s look at how you can monetize your blog or site.

Sell Advertising Space

banner-ads-for-wordpress

You can sell advertising space in the form of banner adverts to businesses and people. It isn’t quite that simple though, you get paid differently by different advertisers.

CPM – Pay Per Impression Advertising

Your website receives revenue as and when you generate impressions for the sponsor. This rewards a website for every thousand impressions that it generates. You may get paid anywhere between $1~$7 per thousand impressions depending on your sponsor’s industry. Most well known CPM advertising network is BuySellAds.

PPC – Pay Per Click Advertising

You make pennies every time someone clicks on a banner or link. It generally works out to a higher amount per click when compared to CPM but it might depend on your niche.

You can run adverts on your site with of one the many ad networks. Google AdSense, The Blogger Network, Rev Content, Undertone and AdBlade are few of the options available to you.

For those of you who use WordPress as a platform to run their websites, you can try out BuySellAds. If you’d like a free plugin, check out Advanced Ads.

Selling advertisements via contextual ad networks is best when you have a site that covers a large spectrum of subjects. If your site targets specific niche or keywords, you’ll find that Affiliate Marketing is probably a better money making strategy for your site.

Also known as CPA or Cost Per Action, Affiliate Marketing is an extremely profitable way to generate revenue for your website. The section of Affiliate Marketing goes into a lot of detail, rightly employed it can make your site very profitable relative to running CPM or PPC advertisements. It’s also a lot tougher to utilize, so let’s talk about affiliate marketing.

Affiliate Marketing

affiliate-marketing-for-wordpress

As the name might suggest your website acts as an affiliate for someone else’s product or service.

How does affiliate marketing work ?

You promote a certain product on your site, your visitor identifies the product as an effective solution to his or her necessities and purchases the product. You get a predetermined percentage or fixed commission for each purchase made by visitor or reader who passes by your site to discover the product or service and then makes a purchase on the affiliate sponsor’s website. This works because the company that sponsors the affiliate program finds a new customer, your visitor found a new product and you get a commission. All three parties involved end up with something they might not have had otherwise. You works as a middleman between buyer and seller and get paid for doing so.

Affiliate marketing campaigns produce new leads for the sponsor and generate commissions for your site effectively only when the niche of the campaign is close to your site’s niche. The further the distance between your niche and the campaign’s niche, the less effective the affiliate marketing efforts.

  • Tip #1: Keep the niche of any affiliate campaign as close to your site niche as possible. Ad networks ensure that the right adverts are displayed on your site with PPC & CPM, but with CPA you need to find the right affiliate to endorse.

Write honest content/reviews, never go over the top and recommend a product or service you have not used. It is okay to verify the features of a product and write a dispassionate review. To give a positive review for any product, use it first or read extensively about the product, reviews provided by domain authoritarians who have a history of being impartial and fair in their assessments (Your eventual aim should be to make your site in their image). And be informative, add value and try to help your readers find the best products. If you’ve used the product better still, be insightful.

  • Tip #2: Be honest & informative. And if you have used the product be insightful. Else you stand to lose your reader’s trust and you lose revenue.

Write about alternate choices. Never recommend a single product, always offer choice to the reader. Your site’s business is to inform your readers. Aigars writes about 20~50 themes in our collection roundups, it is to help provide choice and that’s for free themes. The choices provided should cover as wide a net as possible, when you expect your reader pay for a product.

  • Tip #3: Present reader with alternate choices. Doesn’t mean you can not recommend the best choices in your opinion but try to include as many alternates for your reader as possible.

This is going to be a bit strange, but bear with me! People look for your opinion, put your reputation on the line by recommending one or two products above other choices, but only if you can identify them as the very best options for your readership.

Recommend what’s best for your reader, not yourself. Different affiliate programs have different commissions, some much more profitable than others. But these more profitable programs may not necessarily have the best solutions to your reader’s necessities and problems.

  • Tip #4: A small piece of a bigger pie is better than, well you know how it goes!

Disclose affiliate income, always inform your reader that you receive a commission for products that you recommend. Let your reader know that, this is how your site generates income to pay for writers, website development and hosting. I am sure they’ll understand.

  • Tip #5: Disclose affiliate marketing on your site on pages where there are affiliate links.

Do not push products on your readers. Stop cramming your content with multiple links, try to keep it to a minimum. It might turn off someone, allow for the possibility that your reader is skeptical about someone who profits from their suggestions. Never allow anyone to ever feel that you are merely trying to sell them things.

Always attempt to connect with your audience by being informative, insightful and very importantly helpful. After you’ve described the problem that you’re attempting to solve which should be one that your readers can relate to, only then should you proceed to promote a product as a possible solution. I think subtlety is underrated.

Remember that affiliate marketing can help make a great deal of money for you, if you target the right niche. Not only should your site be relatable to that niche but your niche should have sufficient traffic from the specific niche. Affiliate marketing tends to be very targeted, it will not work if there is no money in that market to begin with.

Before you decide to run an affiliate marketing campaign on your site, try reading the about the affiliate programs offered by the ten biggest players in your industry. Look at their customer numbers and their commission percentages. See if the numbers make sense and whether affiliate marketing is right for your site’s niche.

MyThemeShop offers 70% commission on any new customer you bring to them. We use their affiliate program on our website and highly recommend it.

MyThemeShop Afflilate Program

In comparison, Elegant Themes offer a 50% commission and StudioPress offer a commission of 35%. If either of them had sales exceeding MyThemeShop by a great extent, they will make for better affiliate options but given that there isn’t too much of a difference, you will be better of using all three affiliate programs. This way you can present your readers with multiple choices.

Check out for how long the tracking is valid when you bring new traffic to these sites under affiliate programs. This also known as the tracking cookie period. Most reasonable affiliates have periods of 60 days or greater. After that any sale made as a result of traffic your site brought them, doesn’t earn you a commission.

My examples may have been specific to the WordPress niche, because I am familiar with the WordPress. The commissions vary from sector to sector as the size of the deals vary. Look at all affiliate programs and identify the likelihood that they will generate a steady cash flow which is sustainable and builds over time. And test a few of them out before you settle on one or two of them.

Bluehost has a great affiliate program for many reasons, rather than boring you with “Why?”. I’d like to talk about Pat Flynn who made $424,800 which accounts for about 40% of his site’s revenue in 2014 via BlueHost’s affiliate program and about $670,000 from all affiliate programs. Now remember his website has multiple sources of income and apart from his BlueHost affiliate program all his other income sources are at best $50,000 and not more. I’d recommend that you have a look at Pat’s site and his income statements, you’ll notice that despite the diversity in his income sources he makes about 65% of his income via affiliate programs. This should quite clearly illustrate the power of affiliate marketing.

A Few Things About Advertising – PPC, CPM and CPA

  • Tip #6: Banner adverts are not really your best option, their click through rates are rather low in comparison to in-content links. But if you aren’t using all the space on your website, then perhaps you could add banner advertisements to add to your revenue.
  • Tip #7: Cut out the middleman, many ad networks take out a chunk of your revenue. Remember direct deals are always better than going through an intermediary. It’s also a lot harder.
  • Tip #8: Never crowd your content out with too many advertisements banners or in text links.
  • Tip #9: Use a heat map plugin and try to figure out which parts of your website attract the most attention. Place your adverts appropriately.
  • Tip #10: While plain banner adverts (Not based on PPC, CPM & CPA) pay on a monthly or bi-monthly basis and offer some security of income, even if your traffic doubles or triples, you still get paid the same. PPC, CPM & CPA based advertising on the other pay based on how well your site does and how well it converts traffic into sales/impressions.

Sell Your Product/Service

sell-your-own-products

Creating a website to generate revenue is primarily based on projecting yourself and the people who post content on your site as domain experts. Sometimes it is very easy to prove that you know your stuff, example would be a WordPress theme developer and writer. Aigars writes a great deal about themes and he gets a lot of interaction because he is a pretty awesome web developer.

Projecting yourself as a domain expert is crucial as it is what your site relies on to generate revenue. It is aided by creating products in that particular niche or in the alternative offering services in the same niche or even a related niche.

Of course this works both ways web developer turns writer and the otherway around, the same is applicable to any niche.

We publish a great deal of content about WordPress – Caching plugins, Themes, Hosting and so forth. You can read more about it here. It helps boost credibility and therefore helps with product sales.

  • Tip #11: Generating good and most importantly useful content will help project authority and domain expertise and bring more sales.

This is not limited to digital products like themes, it can be extended to almost any industry for which there is sufficient interest on the internet. Companies of any niche or sector can sell their own products via the internet.

  • Tip #12: Selling stuff services/products and generating good content on the same industry/niche/sector brings in more visitors and as a result more prospective customers to your site.

You may have noticed by now selling products and generating useful content go hand in hand. One aids the other and vice versa.

Whilst selling your own products and services creating an affiliate program will help sell your product better. You will obtain a greater reach by sharing a percentage of your product’s price for sale that may have gone unrealized otherwise.

Some people may be reluctant to share their profits, but what they fail to realize is that the profits you share would not have been realized at all had there not been an incentive for your affiliate to share and recommend your products.

Enable Directories On Your Website

directories-for-profit

Basically the online version of paid classifieds and an easy way to make money. The best thing about directories is you have no limit to the number of companies, businesses or freelancers who can list themselves.

You can charge a flat rate or charge a commission on business your site directs towards the sponsors. And depending on your blog’s primary focus, directories are a handy tool to help your users. For real estate blog, you could create a directory for the real estate agents.

  • Tip #13: It can be really helpful feature for your readers, especially in a primarily services based niche or industry.

For WordPress users, a few handy WordPress themes to help you out. Although, I wouldn’t recommend a directory theme, if that isn’t the crux of your site.

You can use Business Directory Plugin to add the functionality to your site or get some custom web dev work for your site which is preferable.

Job Boards

job-board-for-wordpress

This idea is rather similar but the polar opposite of creating a directory on your site. Job Boards can be an extremely useful source of site revenue where in the person who posts the job pays a monthly fee for his or her job posting.

Pro Blogger is an excellent example of a site with a very profitable job board system. When I checked out their job board, they had about 30 job openings advertised on 4 different pages, which means about 120 job postings. That translates to roughly $6000 revenue per month. To start your own job board you can use any of these WordPress themes and plugins. jobs-for-bloggers

  • Tip #14: Generating revenue with directories and job boards is a really smart idea because you have very little work and you get a lot of revenue. Both methods involve significant web development work to start off but subsequently it requires very little effort for its upkeep.

Offer Sponsored Reviews

paid-reviews-for-sale

Websites with reasonable clout and domain authority often receive requests from small businesses to post reviews of their new products. You can offer sponsored reviews for a fee. We offer sponsored reviews on ColorLib. While it is okay to publish content as part of a sponsored review, you should never offer your opinion for sale. Sponsored reviews really bring in a good amount of cash for relatively little work.

  • Tip #15: Sponsored reviews are a great way to make money! But please add a sponsored review disclosure whenever possible, sometimes sponsors make request that you not reveal that it is a sponsored review. Personally, I feel you should provide a dispassionate review with a disclosure.

Even if you do not disclose sponsored reviews, most websites will have a sponsored review section which will indicate to your reader that you do write sponsored reviews. If you do not disclose sponsored reviews, may be a few of your readers may get upset. But I guess they really can not complain much about it, if you are honest in your product reviews.

On Colorlib, we offer paid reviews at $360. Not only do we get the benefit of the cash, but sometimes we get our hands on a product that hasn’t yet hit the market which is an added benefit. And review content generally tends to be in depth content about specific products which almost all readers love.

  • Tip #16: Sponsored reviews help you get your hand on products that haven’t yet reached the market yet. Many gaming related YouTube channels receive access to games as beta testers and some tech websites are able to get their hands on new laptops and graphic processing units before, they hit the market. This can offer a significant edge over your competitors.

Create Premium Content

premium-content-wordpress

You can craft content that is very difficult to come by on the internet and package it for sale. It can be an eBook or an interactive tutorial/course. You need to provide some free content to entice the audience into buying your content. Also it helps a great deal, if you are specific about what the premium content will teach or reveal to the buyer.

  • Tip #17: Premium content will not work, if you offer something that is available for free on the internet.

I’m currently trying my hand at Data Science and I want to learn R. I’ve used Data Camp, they have an awesome strategy. You get access to the first part of their course for free and you’ll need to pay for access to the subsequent sections.

When it comes to premium content, you can choose either one time purchase models or recurring subscription models for continued access to content and support.

  • Tip #18: With a sales models for paid content, I believe a freemium + subscription hybrid model is best for most content. They have shown tremendous success. In Asia, the freemium App Store model accounts for 90% of all revenue. Many WordPress plugins & themehouses work with freemium and subscription models, again they’ve been very successful.

Write a great book

Most successful blogs and websites are run by good writers and journalists or web developers, programmers, search engine optimization, marketing specialists who’ve become good writers. Many highly ranked websites are run by people with years of experience in their chosen field. Sometimes a single post is not big enough to convey all the information you have to offer.

A book on the other hand, is a great channel for delivery of a well spring of useful information to your readers. After you’ve exhibited considerable domain/niche expertise and your site receives some traffic, a book can be a great idea.

eBooks are a useful idea, even if you decide not to monetize them, but the better thing to do would be to provide limited access and full access for a small fee.

Useful information is hard to come by and a book preferably borne out of personal experience sells well. Generally ebooks provide some form of self – improvement information (How To Get Ask A Woman Out?, Grow Your Blog By 300% With These 3 Steps) at least many of them do.

  • Tip #19: These books offer actionable insight for real people to help themselves personally or professionally.

If you feel providing limited access will perhaps create a disgruntled readership, then divide the book into multipart series and offer one of them for free. As I mentioned before the freemium model is the best way to go when it comes to paid content.

  • Tip #20: Apart from all the monetization incentives, books also help develop and solidify your brand. Make sure you get just right, it can be a very powerful marketing tool and enable you to reach a greater audience.

Webinars

webinar-for-online-income

Writing useful content for your users is great but webinars are a powerful tool that uses more than just the sense of vision. Webinars can help set your site apart from your competitors and you shouldn’t underestimate how useful it can be for your business.

Webinars are way better than just plain text when it comes to educating and informing people. Connecting with people is difficult, reading content and watching webinars are world’s apart.

Host one or two free webinars and teach people something and you can proceed to sell them the remaining webinars in the series. You can use a service like GoToWebinar.

  • Tip #21: Try making YouTube videos for practice, perfect your delivery and get it just right for your webinar series.

The same can be said for podcasting as well.

Email Marketing

email-marketing-campaign

Building a strong mailing list is always a useful asset to any blog as it helps build your readership. You do not have to rely entirely on social media shares and search engine rankings. People will keep visiting your site long after their first visit, if they sign up for weekly or monthly newsletters. Most sites with a loyal readership have fat email lists.

You can employ email marketing to sell products as an affiliate or you can sell your own products. Either way email marketing is a powerful tool that will build sustainable revenue and traffic for your site.

  • Tip #22: The email list is probably a group of people with very similar characteristics and demographic features which is why they’ve subscribed to your site’s blog. You can certainly expect a better conversion when selling products via emails.

Use AWeber or MailChimp to help build your emailing list.

  • Tip #23: Using pop ups effectively will increase your subscriber count dramatically in just one or two months.

Final Thoughts

I’ve described in my opinion some of the best revenue generating solutions for websites and blogs. I can not however make a prediction of how well each advertising method is going to work. Only you can be the judge of that. And the only way you can do that, is to try things out!

But before you start advertising, always remember to ask yourself “Am I really providing something valuable for my reader ?, Is there something new under the sun in my content ? “. People will trust you and purchase the products you throw at them, if the answer to the previous two questions is a resounding “Yes!”.

When it comes to selling your own products and premium content, always remember to go above and beyond expectations of the reader. I’d recommend the freemium model for all your premium content. In a freemium model, you offer a significant chunk of your content for free, but just enough to entice someone to purchase it. But if it is a digital product like for example a plugin or any other product that requires continued assistance, support and updates, then a subscription model is a better choice.

And as for advertising on behalf of others, via any of the multiple previously discussed methods. Always ask yourself “Would I buy this service/product that I am recommending, if I have the same requirements as my readers?”. It’s far easier to convince someone else to purchase something, if you are convinced about the quality of product you are recommending.

Don’t get stuck on any one method of revenue generation, be sure to try out each of them for a three month period or so. Never more than three or four at a time and make sure you give each monetization technique a fair chance, give each its own space.

If you insert all affiliate advertising in the form of in content links, you can not possibly compare it to a banner that is always on display on every page of your site. Place all monetization techniques on almost equal footing and give them a fair trial. It may take a while, but it’ll be well worth the effort!

You’ll find that no matter how many statistics you read about advertising, no one can really predict the outcome for your website. You need to try things out and perfect your ideal hybrid of revenue generating techniques.

I hope you found the post useful ? Subscribe to Colorlib for more of the same!

30 Websites Using Salient Theme – Stunning Salient Theme Examples 2016

Salient Theme Examples

Salient is WordPress theme from ThemeNectar. It has been purchased over 40,000 times and has an active community of users. An updated version has recently been released and it promises improved performance coupled with bug fixes. Visual composer is now a plugin in the new version rather than being inbuilt in the theme itself and existing users will have to activate it in their Admin panel.

The theme has a number of features that help to bring out varying design concepts. Some highlights are listed for you here,-

  • Box roller effect with video
  • HTML5 canvas header BG option
  • New nav effects
  • Full screen menu option
  • New icon set that can be animated
  • New promo page
  • Nectar Builder, a new version of Visual Composer that can be used to help build any number of gorgeous pages with just Drag and Drop and no coding
  • Swipe enabled, unlimited instances with full screen and loop options.
  • Video backgrounds natively supported in a touch friendly Nectar Slider
  • Extensive theme options that can be customized to a great extent
  • 100% responsive design
  • Coded to pixel perfection
  • Shortcode generator available on editor in both visual and text tabs
  • Tons of portfolio configuration options and layouts that are flexible and easy to use
  • 3 full icon sets – steady sets, linecons and font awesome

Some of the Salient powered websites examples that use the theme are featured here so that you can have an idea of the possibilities with Salient.

StorNext

stornext-storage-business-website-salient


StorNext offers digital storage solutions for every production and archive need. They can add cloud capability to websites without disrupting workflow. It is a very creative Salient theme example and one on my favorite one.

Visual Working

visualworking-adventures-site-example-salient


Visual Working is a media production company whose speciality is state of the art imaging. Their website makes good use of the Nectar Slider from Salient to carry a number of video images that showcases their prowess in unconventional productions. A number of embedded videos from Vimeo find their place in the homepage.

Boost Audio

boostaudio-record-studio-site-example


Boost Audio can help to sell beats to a targeted audience by sharing email lists with the sellers. Their website uses imagery to depict the music industry and there are a few call to action buttons placed strategically on the homepage.

Bryce Cooley

brycecooley-designer-portfolio-salient-example


Bryce Cooley is a pastor and a designer and he has used Salient in his website to showcase both his vocations.

Avant8

avant8-seo-company-site-with-salient-theme


A company in the business of PR & Media, SEO, digital marketing, web services and web maintenance, Avant’s website is built on the Salient theme.

Avioa

avioa-personal-portfolio-using-salient-theme


Avioa is the design enterprise of Alex Redondo. His website uses horizontal layers to explain the work done by the enterprise. On landing, a visitor sees a single page with a merged header. A downward arrow takes you to more content in the bottom half of the page. The header becomes prominent as you begin to scroll. Interesting layout from a designer!

Athlete Interactive

athleteinteractive-personal-bran-marketing-site


Athlete Interactive is a digital branding agency for professional athletes. They promise to maximize earning potential of the athletes by image management with their digital services. A few of their success stories are displayed on the revolution slider on their website which is built on the agency format from Salient.

Tropicana Beach Club

tropicanaibiza-beach-club-salient-theme-example


Salient comes in handy for building the website for the Tropicana Beach Club.

American Mold Services

americanmoldservices-cleaning-service-site-example


American Mold Services is in the business of maintaining healthy and clean internal environment. They have kept it simple and business like in their website. The scroll down button and the scroll to the top button in the homepage makes navigating the website easy.

AppDupe

appdupe-non-profit-salient-theme-example


Non tech entrepreneurs can find an enabler and techies can find an accelerator in Appdupe. Their website showcases some of the possibilities in the app world and the numerous, convenient call to action buttons make the website user friendly.

Eight by Eight

8by8mag-magazine-style-salient-theme-example


Eight by Eight is the website of a magazine of the same name built using Salient theme. This example shows that you can use Salient theme for magazine websites.

Another Love Story

anotherlovestory-creative-salient-theme-example


Another Love Story is the website of Happenings and Homebeat which organizes weekend celebration and other events. The site is well organized on Salient, keeping the homepage free of clutter. This helps to focus attention on the neat parallax scrolling in the homepage. The image gallery has been utilized to showcase previous events.

Painted Pixel Studio

paintedpixelstudio-designer-website-with-salient-theme


Painted Pixel Studio is in the business of design (graphic and web), branding and internet marketing. They proclaim their love for technology in their header and it shows in the way their own website has been built on Salient. The different services offered by them and their strengths are showcased tastefully in the header itself.

Jessica Carver

jessicacarver-design-salient-website


Jessica Carver is a product designer and has her website mounted on the Salient theme.

White Knight Video

whiteknightvideo-producer-site-example-salient


White Knight Video creates videos for businesses to explain their product and service to potential customers. The website uses colorful animations to convey this effectively to visitors.

The Sleep Lady

sleeplady-sales-page-site-salient-example


Kim West, who is better known as The Sleep Lady uses Salient on her website to offer tips and methods for a good night’s sleep and to create better sleep habits for the family.

Launch Effect

launcheffecthouston-community-website-example


Launch Effect describes itself as a provider of co-living space for innovators. It targets engineers and entrepreneurs for collaboration, taking away routine tasks and leaving them to focus on their ideas. Salient is used on their website.

Living Wholy

livingwholy-healthy-living-wordpress-website


Living Wholy is a website dedicated to wellness and nutrition and has a website that is structured on Salient. It is easy to navigate and well laid out.

Retroyspective

retroyspective-video-editing-website-example


Retroyspective are makers of videos that create an impact. They present a story or a concept from a totally different perspective and their body of work is showcased on their Salient based website.

The Sponge

thesponge-marketing-blog-with-salient-theme


The Sponge is a branding service. Their website has some attention grabbing options like free webinar, free rating for your brand, positioned in the right side of their homepage. Call to action buttons are freely used, which can tempt a visitor to navigate further.

Camp Timber Lane

camptimberlane-summer-camp-salient-theme


Camp Timber Lane was established more than 60 years ago and has catered to three generations of campers. Their website is based on the Salient theme. This is a great Salient theme example using fullscreen slider which is very popular these days.

Conner Productions

connerpro-production-site-with-salient-theme


Conner Productions specializes in delivering professional video effects to non professional editors. The Nectar revolution slider from Salient has helped them to display a number of templates that showcases their capabilities.

Gavin Ash

gavinash-fullscreen-website-with-salient-theme


Gavin Ash is a cinematographer, photographer and graphic designer. He has used Salient to build his website where he has displayed his body of work.

Imagiinate

imagiinate-it-service-website-with-salient


Imagiinate offers web hosting and IT plans and beautiful, responsive and affordable web design for startups and small business. Their own website has made use of a number of customizable theme options from Salient to present information in a relevant and easy to find way.

Baron Visuals

baronvisuals-education-site-salient-example


Baron Visuals is engaged in the business of picturisation of stories in video format. Salient theme has been used in building this website.

Mixte

gomixte-adventure-blog-site-with-salient


Mixte is a PR and communications company that focuses on telling the stories of ‘nice’ companies that want the good things for communities. Their Salient themed website is made attractive by the very small video at the bottom and the neat arrangement of their services, clients and team on the homepage.

Ted

ted-technology-website-example-on-salient


Ted is the personal blog of Ted Murphy, a serial entrepreneur and it is constructed on the Salient theme.

Powerhouse

powerhousefactories-marketing-agency-site-example


Powerhouse is a creative studio that helps brands flourish in the social era. They also sell products online and the sort and filter options will help a visitor in choosing from the wide range that is included in the ‘shop’ segment.

Casail Gobbo

casailgobbo-villa-rental-salient-theme-example


Casail Gobbo is a luxurious villa which offers staying options to visitors. The stunning photographs of the beautiful villa is sure to tempt visitors.

The Foundry Ministries

foundryministries-foundation-site-using-salient


The Foundry Ministries is a voluntary organization that works in reshaping the lives of the people who need it the most. Their website, which also uses Salient, is well segmented so that information can be easily accessed and the many call to action buttons will make it easy for a visitor to donate or volunteer.

Salient is an extremely customizable multipurpose WordPress theme. Almost any content can be turned into a work of art. You can give wide expression to your creativity and you will find that you are limited only by your own imagination. If you have used Salient on your website too, do let us know so that we can check out how creative and imaginative you have been.

How To Choose The Right Hosting For Your WordPress Website? – A Beginner’s Guide

Wordpress Hosting Guide

Post Series: WordPress performance – How to make your website faster?

  • 1.How To Speed Up Your WordPress Site ? A Complete Guide 2016
  • 2.Top 6 WordPress Caching Plugins To Make Your WordPress Website Faster
  • 3.WordPress Spring Cleaning Toolkit – A Complete Guide How To Optimize Your WordPress Installation For Better Performance
  • 4.How To Choose The Right Hosting For Your WordPress Website? – A Beginner’s Guide
  • 5.Top 20 Mobile Friendly WordPress Themes To Help With SEO And Website Usability On Mobile 2016

If you are looking for web host for your new WordPress site, then you have numerous options in front of you. There are hundreds, if not thousands of great providers of web hosting services. This post is aimed at anyone who’s creating a new WordPress site or those who’ve created a new WordPress site and aren’t satisfied with their web host.

With so many options, the question then becomes, “how do you pick the one that’s best for you and your website?”.

There are a number of parameters that play a role, in the suitability of a web hosting service.

In case, you were wondering we use Digital Ocean’s VPS and MaxCDN. Now the plans that we’re on currently set us back $380 a month, depending on data transferred.

With web hosting, one size certainly does not fit all. The ideal web host for ColorLib is probably not the best one for you. If you’re starting a website under a new domain name, you’ll find the costs expensive and the hardware unnecessarily powerful .

Every scenario is different, a few pointers to help you find the right host. First, we need to address your requirements.

What Does Your Website Need ?

A few questions that arise,

  • What is your current website traffic ? How much do you expect it grow in the next few months ?
  • How scalable a web hosting provider do you want ? This would depend on your answer to the previous question.
  • Do you require your hosting service to be developer friendly ?
  • How much support do you need ?
  • What is your allocated budget for your hosting solution ?

These should be foremost among the questions that you need to answer, before you try to identify the right hosting solution for your WordPress site.

What Features To Look Out For In Your Web Host ?

1. Speed & Performance

WordPress hosting performance

Good hardware is essential to ensure great quality of service from a web host. The memory (RAM), the processing power (CPUs) and disk space (HDDs & SSDs) made available to you play a big role in determining the overall performance of your website.

Now the usage of your RAM and CPU, depends on the type of content on your website and the number of visitors at any one type. For example, if you create viral content the average hosting plan provided to you at minimal cost is not sufficient to handle such bursts of traffic. It will cause your website to slow down and on the rare occasion even go offline. And we can’t have that.

It isn’t disk space that is important, seeing as though there are many hosting companies who provide you with unlimited disk space. Rather the ability of your host to get the information quickly to your visitors, in other words the transfer speed that counts. And it is even better, if you have a web host who can keep your site’s data transfer times low, even under high load.

You can check the load on your server’s CPU, RAM and how much disk space you use. If you are cutting it close, then it is time to upgrade your hosting plan. You can generally check this from your host’s dashboard.

Generally, the costlier hosting plans can handle larger traffic more effectively.

2. Support

Quality of Hosting Support

This depends largely on your familiarity with different hosting solutions. You’ll need less support, if you know your way around WordPress installation, migration, security, caching, site backups and restorations .

But even if you know everything, there is always the potential for that one glitch to mess everything up and it is advisable to have a web host who cares about ensuring that their product functions as advertised. And most providers of web hosting services ensure some degree of support. They provide support via telephone, support forums, live web chats, emails and a support ticket system.

Ideally the best support service is the one that is provided at a moment’s notice and with the quickest turnaround times.

3. UpTime

importance of Hosting Uptime

Most web hosting services have uptimes in excess of 99.5%. There a very few in the sub 99% region. While it doesn’t seem much, if 0.1% has a significant impact on your income from your website it becomes rather important. Otherwise, it is not something you need to concern yourself with. I say this because most web hosting companies of repute have excellent uptimes.

4. What Else Do You Expect Of Your Web Host ?

  • Offsite BackUp & Recovery – If ever your website gets hacked or loses all its data for some reason, you need to be able to restore your website to its former glory.
  • Caching – Some web hosting companies provide caching to help ensure increased speeds. In house caching includes caching on the server side and the client’s end. There are few plugins to help with client side caching, head over to my previous post on the Top 6 Caching Plugins For WordPress.
  • Git version Control – If you are a developer, this is something you’d be interested in.
  • Built-In CDNs – Either that or you can opt for, in all likelihood the best CDN service in MaxCDN.
  • Security Features – You can check out how many times they’ve been hacked, a good indicator of their security.
  • Physical location of data center – The closer it is to the majority of your website’s visitors, the better.

The above six are reasonably important criteria, that you’ll need to consider carefully before coming to your decision.

What Are The Different Types Of Hosting ? Which One Is Suited To Serve Your Site ?

There exist 4 different types of hosting services that anyone who runs a WordPress site or is going to start a new WP site has to be aware of before arriving at the right choice.

  • Shared Hosting
  • Virtual Private Server Hosting
  • Dedicated Hosting
  • Managed Hosting

Some hosting methods are better than others but they are also equally pricier.

Apart from the previously mentioned four hosting types, there is free WordPress hosting. But normally with such a service, there is a catch. For example, they’ll ask you to include adverts on your website. Free hosting services aren’t remotely as reliable as a paid hosting plan. If you are serious about creating a good website and generating revenue from your site, you shouldn’t consider free hosting plans.

Shared Hosting

The cheapest form of hosting, least configurable and most inflexible among the four hosting types. This works on the premise that a website with less traffic doesn’t consume as much of the server’s resources. Knowing that, your website is coupled with another ten or hundred websites and they are all provided for by a single server with shared processing power, memory and disk space.

Now this is acceptable for small websites with less traffic. But should the server your site loads from ever get overloaded then all the websites on it, including yours will slow down. In other words, you get a good host most of the time but if your site or other sites on the same server start getting too much traffic, the server will either slow down or crash. Generally, your host provider will ask you to upgrade your hosting plan, when your site is the reason that its shared server resources are at its limit.

Do not get fooled by unlimited disk space advertised by shared hosting services, this isn’t at all relevant. What you really need is enough RAM and CPU to enable your server to transfer your site’s data to its visitors quickly and with minimal response time. This will not happen, if your server is overloaded with requests from more visitors than it can handle.

Given that this is the cheapest, it is also a good place for beginners with little or no blogging experience to start. This is the best option for low traffic websites which aren’t optimized for monetization. Not an advisable choice, if you are creating a website intended for high traffic and commercial purposes.

VPS Hosting

With a virtual private server, you aren’t given the complete resources of any one server. Instead, the said server is partitioned with your needs in mind. You are given a certain amount of disk space, memory and processing power. You are given root access and you can modify the performance related components of the server to suit your needs. This requires quite a bit of technical expertise and isn’t recommended for a newbie.

VPS plans and hardware are extremely flexible and scalable. With most hosting plans for VPS hosting, you pay for the resources that your website utilizes.

Your website will never slow down or become non responsive due to server overload, so long as you ensure that it has adequate server resources available to it.

That being said, it is the ideal option for an intermediate level blogger or developer looking to create a website made to measure for a specific purpose.

Dedicated Hosting

A server is leased out to serve only your website. The server’s full memory, processing power and disk space are at your disposal. Your website will almost never slow down.

Here’s the catch, they are generally very expensive. Such hosting is required only if your website receives extremely high traffic, so much so that it needs a server unto itself to function effectively.

You do not need a dedicated server, only high traffic sites need dedicated servers.

Managed WordPress Hosting

Probably the best option for non tech savvy people, the technical side is completely taken care of by your hosting company. You can focus on making your website popular and creating awesome content.

Even tech savvy VPS users sometimes fail to fully optimize their sites and as a result they aren’t as fast as can be. In this case, you do not have to worry at all. The hosting company regularly caches your website, they run malware scans, fix security loopholes as soon as they’re discovered, update your WordPress plugins/themes, run daily backups and if your site ever goes down they’ll perform a full restoration. They provide excellent support around the clock.

The fact that everything is taken care off, isn’t necessarily the best thing about managed hosting plans. They come with the promise of infinite scalability at reasonable added costs.

Another feature about managed hosting services is almost zero down time. And with the best, you’ll literally have zero down time.

Managed Hosting is the best option, if you do not want to get involved with the technical side of things. It permits you to focus all your attention on improving and adding great content to your website. And when it does become bigger, your website can easily be scaled with the additional resources that your web hosting company will provide.

I’d recommend you start with Managed WordPress Hosting

It is by far the best choice for any eCommerce entrepreneur, a blogger creating a commercial website or any other small business. The technical side of things is taken care of and you can grow without having to worry about your host’s ability to handle increased server loads. Hosting company will take care of regular backups, WordPress core updates and any other technical chanagle your website might face along the way.

Best Of Managed WordPress Hosting

WPEngine

WPEngine probably the best managed WordPress hosting service, they are the ones who introduced the concept of managed WordPress hosting and made it possible for WP newbies to run awesome websites.

WpEngine

They offer excellent service and support, perform daily backups, scan for malware, offer single click restoration options, easily enable CDNs for fast content loading, ensure enhanced security with a firewall and SSL enabled on all websites. WPEngine also provides a staging area for you to test things out, something that will come in handy for a WP newbie.

WPEngine uses EverCache which is a proprietary WordPress architecture developed by the engineers at WPEngine. EverCache makes sure scaling your website never becomes an issue and can handle traffic spikes without cracking under the pressure.

You’ll also have the option of choosing between servers in America, London and Tokyo.

Considering the services they offer, the price of $29 per month seems low. This is the best deal on offer for anyone genuinely interested in creating a commercial, revenue generating website with high traffic.

And they always allow for your site’s growth by upgrading your site’s hosting plan. The pricing table as you can see below has a number of choices, each catering to different levels of website traffic.

wpengine pricing plan

As you can see, you’ll have no problem with your host when your site grows to epic proportions. The three plans you should consider seriously come with a 60 day refund policy, in case things do not work out or you find it is rather expensive for your liking. In case your website goes viral and use your plan on a single day you are not going to be charged extra and you will be allowed to stick with your current plan.

30,000 websites in over 120 countries trust WPEngine with their hosting requirements, that is quite a big client roster.

Best Of Shared Hosting

SiteGround

SiteGround offers free WordPress auto updates, advanced security, in-house caching, free CloudFlare CDN, daily backups, anti hack systems, 24/7 support via phone, chat & tickets, pre-installed Git and a staging area.

SiteGround

Whilst they provide CloudFlare freely, if you want to use MaxCDN or any other CDN service then you’ll need a third party caching plugin like W3TC.

Starting at $3.95/month, it is way cheaper than managed WordPress hosting services. And they offer a 30 day money back guarantee.

Final Thoughts

There are other web hosting alternatives for shared and managed hosting, I’ve shared the two I think are the best.

If you want to create a popular commercial revenue generating website, start off with WPEngine or an equally good managed WordPress hosting company. If you find out, that it is taking too long to generate sufficient revenue to excuse spending $29/month on hosting, then switch to SiteGround’s shared hosting plan.

I’ve chosen not to talk about clustered and cloud hosting options because they aren’t really necessary for a WP newbie.

The first time I created a website, it was an exhilarating experience. Please do share your thoughts on WP hosting and your first time with web hosting ?

How To Find Out What Theme A WordPress Website Is Using?

What WordPress Theme Is That

In my last post, I discussed how you can find out if a website is running on WordPress or some other content management system. The reasons for wanting to find out if a website is running WordPress or not, can be varied. But generally, people are curious or are learning to become web developers or web entrepreneurs. This time we want to show how to find out what WordPress theme a website is using.

I’m currently looking for the right theme for a portfolio website. Although I’ve seen previews of hundreds of themes in the past, I always try to identify the themes of a personal portfolio websites of other freelance professionals. It is a very good technique to see what type of website you can create with different themes and a bit of customization.

If you are scouting for a theme for any type of website, you’ll certainly be interested in themes used by websites in the same niche. Personally, that alone is sufficient motivation to write this article.

Generally speaking, discovering this sort of information requires either using third party websites or browser extensions. The alternate option is to view the source code and Google the stuff you find in the code. I’ll look at each method individually and point you in the direction of a few helpful tools.

Using Third Party Websites

WordPress Theme Search allows the user to enter the URL of any website that employs a WordPress theme and it presents the details of the same. The information not only identifies the theme but also the attempts to identify the author of the theme.

If it finds, that a website uses a proprietary theme or a customized theme, it also reports that. This is a nice choice for identifying WordPress themes, especially if you intend to purchase one based on what you’ve seen on different websites. The theme details the websites reports will let you know if the theme is free for download or whether it requires a purchase.

whatwpthemeisthat detector

WP Theme Detector is another website that helps you find the themes that different WordPress sites employ. It comes with a great deal of information and helps you find the theme and theme’s author.

It also seems to keep data on sites tracked for long time. For example, when I entered colorlib.com to try out the application, among the results it says “Theme has changed at least once since this site was first tracked by WPTD on 2013-10-19”. So it provides information about the changes that have taken place on a website, provided the website in question has been checked in the past by WPTD.

WTDC

I tried WordPress Theme Search and attempted to find details about colorlib.com and the result displayed was rather limited. – “WordPress detected, but the specific theme details could not be determined. It is probably using a customized or proprietary theme.” Although this is accurate, WPTD provides more information including the author name. The results can vary with both applications for different websites, but it seems the case that WPTD might have the edge.

I retried both applications with WpExplorer.com, I was definitely able to discern the author and license status for the custom theme their website employs. But again WPTD has the edge, because in addition to the normal stuff they also pointed out that they are a Top 100 WordPress Theme Provider and their themes account for 0.17% of WPTD previous searches.

There is another website WhatTheme, which attempts to perform the same function but it doesn’t seem to be as good as either of the aforementioned two websites. It only points out that a custom theme has been used and identifies them by name, no linked references are provided to the authors of said theme.

Although, the WhatTheme project seems like a great idea, it doesn’t look as though it has been fully developed. The idea behind the algorithm of WhatTheme is to recommend themes with similar design elements found in the website being analysed.

If you are using a third party website to identify WordPress themes, try WPTD first and then WordPress Theme Search.

Using Browser Extensions

After websites, browser extensions are the next easiest alternative to find out WordPress themes and templates of the websites you visit. Of course, they come with the added benefit of not having to visit another website to view theme details.

For Chrome, you can try WordPress Theme Detective an browser extension created purely for the purpose of identifying a WordPress website’s theme and to provide a link to the theme’s author.

WordPressThemeDetective

I must say the extension seems to function well on websites with well known themes, but if you were to visit a website with a customized theme, it is unlikely that the extension will provide any hint to help you find the theme’s publisher or author.

I also subsequently tried WPSniffer and WordPress Theme & Plugin Detector, I found the latter extension far more effective. I experienced the same problem with WPSniffer, no information provided when used for WordPress websites with customized themes.

Among the three extensions, I definitely think WordPress Theme & Plugin Detector has the edge because it provides some information about the author for customized theme and templates. It is very similar to WPTD in that sense.

I looked up the same type of extension for Firefox, I wasn’t able to find an extension worthy of note. If you use Firefox and find an extension for the same to detect WP themes, I’d love to hear it in the comments below.

View The Page Source

This is for those of you who are tech savvy and have accessed the source code of websites for different purposes. We can glean from the Source Code the names of the templates and themes that WordPress websites employ. This is true of all Content Management Systems.

There are always clues that point towards the theme or the template that a website is running regardless of the Content Management System. On a different note, if you do not know whether a website is running on WordPress, you can read my previous post which explains how to find out if a website is running on WordPress.

Open the source code, right click and select View Page Source.

Find the file style.css, which resides in wp-content under the sub directory themes. Finding it manually is takes far too long, just open your browser’s search bar with “Ctrl+F” and type in “style.css”.

Colorlib source code

You will find style.css as part of a hyperlink, open the link.

what colorlib theme wordpress use

As you can see from the screenshot above, the theme name, version, description and author have been provided with details including links and licensing information. You will almost always find this file for every WordPress website and opening the link that accompanies it should open up theme information to you.

Another way you can easily figure out the name of theme you are dealing with, is through the link that contains the style.css file.

Go back up to the screenshot and you’ll notice it reads:

https://cdn.colorlib.com/wp/wp-content/themes/colorlib-v2/style.css?ver=4.4

This may be modified a bit for different websites but generally the theme’s name precedes the style.css in the link. You could also say the theme name appears after wp/wp-content/themes/, either way you can figure out the name based on the link in and of itself, without accessing the style.css file which provides specific theme information. A simple Google search of the theme name will yield the theme’s author and licensing information.

I hope the post was helpful and you can now easily find out which theme your favorite WordPress websites are using ?

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Top WordPress Maintenance Plugins To Handle Planned Website Downtime Like a Pro – 2016

Best WordPress Maintenance Plugins

I’ve already discussed what causes unplanned downtime, what unplanned downtime might cost a business in a previous article. Today, I’ll be looking at how you can tackle some planned downtime. Planned downtime may be due to various reasons such as routine maintenance, new website under construction and possibly even server migration.

When you talk about planned downtime with WordPress websites, there are a lot of free options at your disposal. There are many themes and WordPress maintenance plugins that would allow you to convey to your reader or visitor that your website is temporarily down due to specific reasons.

I think it’s quite crucial to remember that if your website crashes or your host’s servers aren’t operating, these solutions won’t work. I’m only talking about putting up a front for your visitors while your developers make changes to your website. We’re merely talking about a facade for the outer world and nothing more, so if your website does crash then all of the solutions presented below won’t be of much help unfortunately.

Most solutions presented will help create a new version of the website for public view with a message to your visitor telling them that your website is down due to maintenance or the particular webpage in question is under construction (like a coming soon page).

Let’s look at a couple of WordPress maintenance plugins which will help tackle the problems presented by planned downtime.

Ultimate Coming Soon Page

Ultimate Coming Soon Page plugin as the name might suggest, the plugin does a great job of creating a simple coming soon page on your WordPress site. You can make it so, that only logged in users can view and access your website. And for users who aren’t logged in, only a coming soon page would keep them company.

ComingSoon


This coming soon plugin can be customized a great deal and the admin can change the background colors, images, font attributes and add custom HTML & CSS for extra customizability. The plugin has been translated into many languages and provides multisite & BuddyPress support.

The plugin also has many features tucked away in the premium version, the plugin creates a secret link for your clients to allow them to continue viewing the upcoming website. There is sufficient search engine optimization with meta tags and the plugin ensures responsiveness. It also has a maintenance mode available, if you should want to use it. In addition to working with all well built WP themes, the plugin also boats compatibility with almost all popular plugins and comes with shortcode support.

Easy Coming Soon

Easy Coming Soon will help create a launch page or a coming soon page easily for your WordPress website. The setup process is pretty intuitive and the plugin works its magic once you’ve entered the necessary details for your coming soon page.

easy coming soon 2

Similar to the last plugin, this one too promises compatibility with any WordPress theme and most of the popular plugins. Ideal for web developers who are working on webpages on live websites. The plugin also provides great social connectivity and a pretty great coming soon template to help you get started.

You can also ensure the coming soon page is only visible to non logged-in visitors. Google Analytics support is available with the free version of the plugin unlike the previous plugin. But this plugin also seems to lack the customizability adding custom code offers (available with premium version), which the Ultimate Coming Soon Page plugin has as part of its offerings free of cost.

Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode

SeedProd’s plugin is a freemium plugin that offers a lot of choice and helps deal with coming soon pages & also create a facade for website maintenance.

Comingsoonpage&MaintenanceMode

All the features this plugin offers are same as the ones offered by Ultimate Coming Soon Page. This particular plugin seems more like a re-branded version of John Turner’s Ultimate Coming Soon Page plugin. Also the plugin is likely just as good.

WPsoonOnlinePage

WP Soon Online Setting


Simple, straightforward option for web developers and website admins just looking for a temporary solution for web pages under construction. The plugin doesn’t offer much choice or options, but performs the function of displaying an online soon page rather effectively. With it you can add a background image, add a logo and modify the font of the page’s titles to create a highly useful coming soon page.

underConstruction

underConstruction 5

Much like WPsoonOnlinePage, this plugin too seems to be a relatively simple to use plugin that delivers. It creates a coming soon page which is made visible to all users who are not logged in.

Site Offline or Coming Soon

Nifty plugin which can easily enable and disable your site’s offline mode. Using the site offline mode will present a maintenance mode page to regular visitors. Alternatively, you can also use a coming soon page if we’re talking about a new webpage under construction.

Site-offline-or-coming-soon-6

You can add custom messages and deliver them to your site’s visitors whilst your website undergoes maintenance or some other work. The primary motivation with this plugin is you can work on your site’s back & front-end and display something acceptable to normal visitors at the same time.

There are quite a number of features reserved for the premium version of this plugin. A fully responsive page template to work with couple with customizability with regards to page title, the header and the background. You can also add a 503 error which will let google’s crawlers know that your website is undergoing scheduled maintenance work. You can also employ Google Analytics Integration the plugin provides to gather data. Apart from all of that, you can add your logo, your own header image, create a new gallery for the background and add HTML content to your coming soon page.

Launchpad by Obox

Launchpad is more geared towards developers who are working on new web pages or web sites, the plugin displays responsive coming soon or a down for maintenance page on your site. The setup required for the plugin is minimal and it also helps set a clock on when your website will be active or ready for public viewing.

Launchpad by Obox 7


You can add your own logo and choose from three unique themes designed by Obox’s design team. You can also change your fonts, select one of eleven backgrounds and use the grad & drop feature available to move the layout elements to suit the requirements of your site.

In addition to multiple customization options, you can also make changes from the settings area and add your own custom CSS. And since you would rather connect with your visitors even under these circumstances that would necessitate a plugin such as this one, to enable you to add social icons and a subscription option as well.

Minimal Coming Soon & Maintenance Mode

A plugin that offers solutions for both websites under construction and a website undergoing maintenance. It is a rather minimal plugin, simple to use and offers a great deal of customization to the user.

Minimal-Coming-Soon-and-Maintenance-Mode-8

The plugin works well with top caching plugins, you can change the page template’s background, the fonts used, the cover image and more. The page elements can be arranged as per your discretion. To enhance the options you have, custom CSS and HTML can be added to modify the plugin. The coming soon page is visible only to non logged in users and the search engines can be allowed to view the website normally.

The level of customization the plugin lends is pretty impressive for a free plugin.

Maintenance

A plugin best suited to help web masters deal with websites under maintenance. You can create a 503 service not available and create a temporary page which can be easily edited from the plugin’s settings. The background, the logo in use, the title, headline and pretty much everything else can be modified. You can also selectively exclude pages on which site functions as normal.

Maintenance


The premium version of the plugin also for more customization with regards to the background, the user permissions and the countdown clock.

WP Maintenance Mode

WP-Maintenance-mode-10

Very similar to the previous plugin and it accommodates the need for maintenance pages and a coming soon page as well. It also works with WordPress multisite which is a very handy feature. It has a great level of customizability, provides a countdown timer, if you should need one. It has a responsive design & works well with subscription and contact forms. It has a few useful SEO options to help you during any downtime.

Easy Pie Maintenance Mode

Easy Pie Maintenance Mode 11


Easy Pie Maintenance Mode is yet another plugin that deals with websites undergoing maintenance. The plugin is rather simple to use and offers great customization options in terms of styling the title, the message & the headline, the logos used and you can even add custom CSS code, if you’d like. Mini themes are available and you can also create your own which is pretty handy to help deal with any down time situation easily.

There is another plugin on offer from Easy Pie for a Coming Soon Page too, you might want to check it out.

IgniteUp – Coming Soon and Maintenance Mode

I like this particular plugin a lot, not only does it have a simple intuitive and modern interface but the background options freely available are easily a cut above the other plugins I’ve so far discussed. Just have a look at the screenshot below, four templates freely available with the plugin.

TemplatesIgniteUp

You can easily enable and disable the plugin’s coming soon or offline mode and select an appropriate template for your website. Search Engine Optimization is an often overlooked aspect, the plugin also makes available enabling 503 header. Add custom CSS and your own favicon.

IgniteUpInAction

The logo, the background colors, the text attributes, links, social media profiles, subscription forms can all be modified from the plugin’s settings page. It also offers compatibility with MailPoet and MailChimp plugins. Overall, this is an awesome plugin.

Final Thoughts

The last plugin of my round up -“IgniteUp – Coming Soon and Maintenance Mode” is definitely my pick of the lot. I found it pretty darn difficult and tiresome to get the coming soon pages or the maintenance pages up and running on most of the WordPress maintenance plugins.

Why ? Because creating a coming soon page or a site under maintenance page is pretty difficult for someone who isn’t an expert on web design.

With IgniteUp’s plugin however I never had any such difficulty.

Plugins from Easy Pie, Obox and Seed Prod also offer a few options in the way of ready made templates, but personally preference lies overwhelmingly with IgniteUp’s plugin ?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

If you’d rather use a WP theme to tackle planned downtime, we’ve got that covered too. Do check out Aigar’s write up on top 20 Coming Soon Themes for WordPress.

What causes WordPress website downtime? What does it cost your business and brand?

Fix Website Downtime

Almost all websites, even the incredibly popular ones experience downtime at some point of time or another.

There are a great number of reasons why WordPress websites crash and your website might go down too! Maybe for a couple of minutes, maybe for a couple of hours.

Let me put the scale of the problem into perspective. Given the time period of one year with a hosting service that promises 99% up time, your hosting service is implicitly telling you, that your website can experience a downtime of about 3.6 days in a calendar year.

Is that okay ? If you are serious about building a top notch business using the web as a means to extend your reach and intend to utilize your website to find new clients to sell your services or find new customers for your products, then 3.6 days is 3.6 days more downtime than you can afford.

Even if a hosting service assures 99.9% up time (like SiteGround), that allows room for the possibility about an hour of down time. If you are building your first web business, you’ll need to be wary of downtime. Downtime can potentially cost your business a lot!

Whilst most of the causes for downtime are common across most Content Management Systems, I’ll be discussing problems & providing solutions for web entrepreneurs who use WordPress to run their online platform.

What happens if your website crashes or is unavailable for any period of time ?

If you are unconvinced regarding the costs imposed by a website crash for any duration of time, that needs to change. Let’s look at what you stand to lose, if your website crashes for a few hours every month.

Your profitability takes a hit, every second your website is down you lose revenue. This is the most direct impact of site downtime. Now based on how long your site crashes you stand to lose a potentially sizable chunk of your annual revenue. Facebook loses about $1.7 million in advertising revenue every hour the website is offline.

Imagine your site which thrives by selling a product or acting as an affiliate crashes during a festive period when shopping tends to peak. Take for example, Black Friday 2014 many websites struggled to keep their websites online and we’re talking about some of the biggest players here. According to Uptrends’ Blog – Of the 40 retailer websites that they monitored, only 27 maintained a perfect 100% uptime rate during the festive season surrounding Black Friday/Cyber Monday 2014.

It costs you customer satisfaction and loyalty. Your site crashes, how long do you think your customer is going to hang around before deciding to make the purchase elsewhere ? In a highly competitive industry like eCommerce, there is no space for missteps.

Potential business partners and prospective investors lose confidence. Any self interested business partner or prospective investor will almost instantaneously decide not to even bother contemplating a partnership or an investment in your venture. I can only imagine, I would never buy from an unreliable online retailer. How do you think someone interested in investing will look upon site downtime.

Search Engine Rankings will be greatly affected, if your website should go down for extended duration of time repeatedly. Google does make a few allowances when it comes to downtime. If Google finds that your site isn’t up for some reason, a Googlebot will visit again 24 hours later and check if the site is accessible. If your site is found to experience downtime repeatedly for intervals greater than 24 hours, you’ll be putting your SERPs at significant risk of taking a nose dive.

What Causes Downtime ?

If you intend to tackle the possible causes for website downtime, you’ll want to know what factors most cause downtime. Where do I start ?

Software Goes Awry Or Gets Compromised

Your website runs on a Content Management System, which interacts with some other software you use to add a skin & some functionality to your website, a compatibility problem may cause your website to crash.

Software compatibility issues can wreck havoc with your up time and even you’re a seasoned web developer, there is every chance that your website may break due to new software you introduce or due to unforeseeable compatibility issues.

Compatibility issues can be overcome by using a staging environment to test things out before you use the new software on a live website. Some hosting service providers provide a staging area for you to try things out. You can employ backups of your websites to prevent site crash prior to any major or even minor update, so you can rewind time to before the crash.

DNS problems are also quite frequent and certainly are very strong contenders for the leading cause of website downtime. DNS is the equivalent of a phone book for your site’s IP address. When someone types yourdomain.com into their browser, the user’s Internet Service Provider looks it up in a DNS server that directs your browser to the matching IP address which is basically your site’s address.

Handling DNS is particularly tricky, there are a number of parties that need to work together to make sure everything works as it is supposed to. Configuring your DNS records to the correct name-servers is typically done by the domain registrar from whom you initially purchased the domain.

Configuring your DNS is generally something you’ll need to work out with your registrar (who may also happen to be your hosting service provider). If the updates for changes on your websites take time to register or if you use incorrect settings, your website can become painfully slow and possibly crash.

You can and should use tools like DNS Health from Pingdom, Domain Health Report from MX Toolbox, Open DNS Cache Check or Into DNS to help find and fix problems with your DNS.

Vulnerabilities in software at your end is can cause downtime.

Dedicated denial of service attacks on popular websites are very common, it can potentially bring your website to a crawl. If you use shared hosting, you may be more at risk, this depends entirely on your how well your hosting provider segregates server processing power and memory. Using a dedicated server means you’ll only need to concern yourself with protecting your own servers from DDOS attacks, but their cost puts them out of reach for most new businesses.

Apart from DDOS attacks, hackers may attempt to find and exploit popular vulnerabilities in WordPress software or vulnerabilities found in third party software you add to your website.

Maintaining your website and ensuring your website’s security is a task unto itself. I’ve written a very detailed article on how WordPress websites are exploited and how you can protect your WordPress website. I sincerely recommend you give it read, it’ll keep your website safe from most attacks.

Web server software like Apache Web Server, MySQL, SQL Server, Microsoft IIS, MariaDB, PostgreSQL, PHPMyAdmin et all are all required for many web hosts to keep things running smoothly. Software at your end is only one part of the equation, your hosting service runs a lot of web server infrastructure which requires a lot of software to keep things running smoothly.

If software on the server side of things is not regularly updated, it could lead to problems and can cause your site’s security to become compromised. Check out how many well known web hosts run on old software which aren’t necessarily vulnerable, but still presents potential problems down the line.

An easy way and a pricey way out of all of the aforementioned problems – Use a managed WordPress hosting service like WPEngine and you’ll not have to worry much. But many web entrepreneurs can not afford a pricey hosting option.

Software (CMS & web infrastructure) is certainly a very important aspect of maintaining perfect up-time records.

Hardware

All the software in the world requires fully functional & operational hardware to ensure 100% up time. Hardware that runs most websites now is very reliable, the technology in this space has come a long way in the last decade or so.

Even low cost hardware infrastructure (shared hosting environments) offer very strong performance. And most hosting service providers have RAID disk arrays, multiple power sources, on site/off site backup and more depending on your choice of web host. So that’s pretty impressive. Shared environments can always be compromised if the server resources are not effectively monitored and segregated so as to ensure one website doesn’t use a large percentage of a shared server’s hardware resources.

The physical security for data centers is taken very seriously. Access to the hardware is restricted and there is a tendency to employ key cards, bio metric scanners and round the clock surveillance to ensure security. Many web hosts also use advanced fire suppression and powerful cooling systems to fire proof their systems.

Virtual Private Hosting like the one Colorlib uses (Digital Ocean) start at $5/mo. And with a VPS you’ll get what you’ve paid for and will not be exposed to possible problems you may face with a shared hosting environment.

Using a VPS may require considerable technical know how, which if you are uncomfortable with, leaves you with the only other choice – managed WordPress hosting. Software & Hardware can be handled by a managed WordPress host if you prefer not to get your hands dirty. If you are undecided which type of hosting service you can handle or your website will need, please do read a very extensive account, I’ve written in the last few months.

Tackling Unplanned Downtime

All of what I’ve discussed previously deals with how to prepare against unplanned downtime. In summary,

  • Get your self a trust worthy host. Do not look at their promises, look at how often their servers crash, is their software up to date & if their hardware is proofed against failure.
  • Ensure optimum site security.
  • Hire a professional or use a managed host.

If you insist on doing the hard work yourself or you can’t afford the previous options. Here’s how you can tackle downtime. Sometimes even your web hosts may not offer some of the measures that the best web admins take to prevent site down time, so do keep all of the below in mind when searching for the right web hosting company for your business.

  • DNS problems are among chief causes for downtime. Invest in a secondary or a backup DNS service which will help resolve DNS queries if your primary DNS is non responsive for any reason.
  • Backup, a crucial aspect of site security for any CMS. No matter the number of security measures you employ, something can always go wrong. Find a reliable backup service.
  • You can also use monitoring services to check site uptime. Also another easy trick, use Google’s page visibility reports to see what Google’s bots make of your website when they come crawling.
  • Domain registrations do not last forever. Always make sure your domain is registered, use auto renew to make sure your site doesn’t go down because of silly reasons.

And what do you do when your website crashes ?

For WordPress sites there are couple of plugins that would help handle downtime. The remedial measures required to handle a website which has crashed is the same as what you might expect with planned downtime, read on.

Planned down time is quite different, you may be required to keep certain sections or your entire website unavailable to the public under certain special circumstances. It could be routine maintenance or you could be working on a new site design or migrating to a different host, there are various reasons for planned downtime.

If you run your website on WordPress, I’ll help you find the right tools to effectively handle planned downtime. I’ll show you which tools will best allow you to handle planned downtime in the next few weeks.

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