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The Problem with Plugins

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I’m sure that you don’t need me to tell you that WordPress is huge. Let’s look at the statistics – at the time of writing, there were just under 65 million WordPress sites in the world, and over 371 million people view more than 4.1 billion WordPress pages every month.

 Wordpress Plugins

That’s just for WordPress.com – self-hosted WordPress.org sites are arguably even more popular, thanks to their adaptability and the ease of use that the CMS offers. In fact, TechCrunch, CNN and the NFL all use WordPress sites, and it’s likely that WordPress as a CMS will continue to see dramatic growth.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I love third-party plugins, they can offer a whole host of new functionality to your website and enable you to do things that you never even dreamed of. But they can also cause problems, particularly if you’re plugin happy and install everything that you can find.

Here are some of the most common problems that WordPress plugins cause, along with a few hints on what you can do to avoid them.

Security vulnerabilities

Let’s jump in at the deep-end – the worst-case scenario is that you’ll install a plugin which opens up a huge security vulnerability, allowing hackers or even the plugin’s developer to access the back-end of your website.

And it’s not always because of a malicious developer, too – take this case from a couple of years ago, when three popular plugins had unwanted backdoors added to them. Luckily, in this case, WordPress reacted quickly to reset all users’ passwords as a precaution and no lasting damage was done.

Of course, some other plugins are designed specifically to try and catch an unsuspecting admin out, and you need to look out for the warning signs. But don’t worry, help is at hand!

What to do: Change your password regularly, and use a separate password for your WordPress site than you do for all of the other sites that you frequent. Also, consider using a .htaccess file that blocks anyone from accessing your admin panel unless they’re logging in from your IP address(es). Make sure that you update your plugins whenever new versions are released (checking several times a week), so that you’re not running outdated software that might not have been patched. And finally, always take a look at the rating of the plug-in on the WordPress.org website – if it has a low rating, other admins have probably experienced problems.

Clashes with other plugins

Unfortunately, not all plugins were created equal – a quick Google search turns up over 550,000 results for ‘WordPress plugin clash’. The sad fact is that, on the odd occasion, two different plugins are completely incompatible, often due to duplicate variables, or two lines of code that get stuck in a loop.

Worse still, many developers aren’t aware of these clashes – there are just too many plugins out there for even the most dedicated development teams to test their work against every other plugin on the market.

What to do: If you can track them down, report the problem to the developers – if they’re still supporting the plugin, they’ll probably fix the bug for future releases. If you can’t find them, or if the plugin is no longer supported, you’re just going to have to avoid using whichever plugin you value the least. To make matters worse, if you really need the new plugin and you’re not sure which of your existing plugins it’s crashing with, you’re just going to have to try deactivating plugins in batches of three to try and narrow down which one is causing the problem. Oh, and have a look around online first to make sure that it is a clash, and that it’s not just a plugin that doesn’t work.

Faulty plugins

As we’ve just established, not every plugin works first time, and quite a few of them no longer work at all. In these circumstances, you’ll find that you’ve installed and activated the plugin, but it’s not having the desired effect. Now what can you do?

What to do: Unfortunately, if the plugin doesn’t work, all you can do is report it to the developers, give the plugin a poor rating on WordPress.org to warn other admins, and move on. See if you can find another plugin that does the same thing, and try that instead.

Unsupported plugins

Let’s presume that you’ve pinpointed a problem and you want to report it to the developers. How do you go about doing that? Well, the first step is to find the plugin’s page on WordPress.org and click on the ‘support’ tab – with a bit of luck, you’ll be shown a list of recent posts about the plugin, and you’ll be able to raise your own issue here.

Alternatively, most plugins have either an author bio alongside them, and you’ll be able to find more information about the developers here. It’s also worth checking any documentation that came with the plugin.

But if you use enough plugins, you’ll eventually find a plugin that doesn’t include any developer information or documentation, and you’ll be left scratching your head and wondering what to do next.

What to do: Have a look around on Google and see if you can find someone else that’s had a similar problem. If it’s a popular plugin, you might well find that someone has already encountered and solved the problem, documenting the process along the way. If not, you’re out of luck – you’ll just have to remove the plugin and move on.

Not specifically designed for the site

Even if you find that your plugin is working correctly, it might not fit the look and theme of your website. This is quite a common pitfall, and one that’s impossible for developers to predict – they design their plugins to work on as many themes as possible, paying particular attention to the most popular ones during their testing, but it’s just not possible for them to guarantee that their plugin will display correctly on whatever theme that you’re using.

What to do: Learn how to use CSS and play around with the plugin’s stylesheets – you might find that you’re able to correct the issue yourself. Depending upon your budget, it’s also worth looking for a freelance developer who may be able to come up with a fix. If all else fails, report the bug to the developers, but they’re less likely to correct an issue with how the plugin displays than they are to correct a problem that stops it from working altogether.

Slowing the load time

Let’s presume that everything is working correctly, that it all displays fine on your modified template and that the plugin does everything you were hoping for. But then you load up your website and spot a noticeable difference in the amount of time that it takes for your pages to load.

This is even more important in the age of Google – they found that when they ranked slow websites in their results pages, people actually used the search engine less frequently. Because of this, they now take loading times into account when they generate their results. It’s not just Google, either – Shopzilla shaved three seconds off their loading time, and experienced a 25% increase in page views and an increase in revenue of up to 12%.

What to do: Deactivate any plugins that you aren’t using, and investigate Google’s Webmaster Tools – they can increase your loading speed by up to 60%, by using a couple of innovative techniques. First off, they’ll pre-load information in anticipation of a user clicking through to the most popular pages. Secondly, they’ll defer the less important information and get it to load after everything else on the page has displayed.

As long as you’re sensible and look out for the warning signs, there’s no reason that you can’t add plugins safely and securely to your WordPress website. There are also other things that you can do, like backing up your database and your website files, to ensure that even if there is a problem, it won’t knock your site out of commission for good.

What WordPress plugins do you use? Have you ever experienced a problem? Let me know with a comment!

Author Bio:

Dane Cobain is a social media specialist for UK-based creative agency fst the Group. He’s also a gadget-lover and tech fanatic, as well as an internet addict.

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Guest Post

10 Steps to Evaluating and Measuring Your Marketing Strategy

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When you are trying to market a product, the product or service is only as good as the potential clientele think it is. You need to get them to buy or use the item or service before you can tell if it really works for them. How can you go about evaluating and measuring your current marketing strategy?
Input vs. Output
Check your financial statements. Are you spending more money than you are making? In a strong marketing campaign, this should not be the case. You want to tweak your plan to make more money than you are putting into the project.
Customer Surveys
When you sell a product, include a survey along with it. Ask the customer to rate different qualities of the product that directly relate to the market. For example, ask them how they heard about the product and if the visual appeal of the item had anything to do with its purchase.
Phone Surveys
Distribute flyers, pamphlets and other coupon offers to people and see if they call back. You’ll know if the marketing works based upon how many people call. When they do call, ask what elements of the flyer or other item made them want to call you.
Test Group
Before you send a new item onto the market, have a test group to evaluate your marketing. For example, you might bring in a section of the company that has never seen the ad. Ask them what they think and if they would buy the product.
Introspective Analysis
What about you? Try to separate yourself from the ad as much as possible. Imagine that you were walking down the street and saw this advertisement. Would you feel inclined to purchase it or use the service? What elements of it are captivating and visually appealing? What elements turn you away?
Quantitative Data
Of course, all of these surveys and questions are important; however, you must generate quantitative data from all of them. For example, calculate the percentage of people who learned about your company from the Internet, paper flyers, word of mouth, and so forth. Put the information into charts.
Compare Years
After you have put the information into charts, you should start comparing this year’s findings to last year’s findings. If you find that a larger percentage of people are using the Internet than last year, you will have gained valuable insight into the company’s advertising.
Targeting the Many…
Once you find where most of your patrons are coming from, work to keep up steady advertisements in that domain. If most people are finding your company through Google searches, maintain fresh SEO strategies throughout the year to keep generating customers in that manner.
…And the Few
Let’s say that very few people are finding you from paper advertisements in the local department store. If this is a new trend, give it another shot to try to keep those few customers that you have. If it’s a continuing trend, you may want to put that money into another avenue.
Keep It Up
Don’t let your evaluation and measuring strategies fall to the wayside. You need to keep using them to ensure constant success for your company.
Evaluation and measurement strategies can bring both good and bad news to you about your marketing strategy. Be sure to use all of the information to generate more positive outcomes.

Thaddeus McGregor writes about business, marketing & finance at

www.businessinsurance.org.

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Guest Post

Top 8 popular WordPress plugins of all the time

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The WordPress plugin repository has 54,000+ plugins. That’s like a lot. These plugins are used to complement the core WP installation. In other words, it improves a user’s experience on WordPress. They handle certain features and functionalities that WP cannot do by itself.

Choosing the correct plugin is vital for your website’s security, user-friendliness, and speed. Else you can take WordPress support from a good team.

 We have listed down the top 8 popular WordPress plugins. Let’s discuss first what WP Plugin is.

WordPress Plugin

WP plugin is defined as a software tool that is scripted in the PHP language. It includes additional features on your WP website. The plugin provides a simple process to add features to your website without writing a single code.

The API of the plugin provides an effective hooks’ and filters set. This robust set enables developers to modify or add new functions with WordPress. 

8 Popular WordPress plugins

Yoast SEO

Search Engine Optimization is necessary to boost traffic to your website. Without any doubt, Yoast SEO is the best WordPress SEO plugin. It supports you to add Meta tags, connect your website with Google Search Console, etc. 

The plugins provide you with a complete solution to improve on-page SEO. The features of Yoast SEO are as follows:

  • Readability check
  • Internal linking suggestion
  • Access to create custom Description/Mets Header
  • XML News Sitemaps
  • Quickly build 301 directs with the Redirect feature
  • Optimize for synonyms, keywords
  • Update as per Google’s algorithm

The plugin makes sure that your site meets the top-most SEO principle. It provides the tools to optimize your content for overall readability and SEO.

Akismet

Every day it is not easy to filter out spam that is either irrelevant stories or promotional links. Automattic developed a tool called Akismet.

It is known as the godfather of comment spam reduction plugins. The plugin works great to track back spam and filter out most comments. It reviews all your contact form submissions against their global spam database. This WordPress Premium plugin provides advanced security solutions along with spam protection.

To use the plugin, you will need an API key that is free for non-commercial use. It is beneficial if you receive at least ten comments daily.

Jetpack

The Automattic company built another top-most WordPress plugin called Jetpack. It is a versatile tool with numerous features. The plugin supports you with design, marketing, and security. Among its multiple features, you can perform the following-

  • Spam filtration
  • Malware scanning
  • Find site analytics
  • Login security
  • CDN
  • Automatic social media posting
  • Slow image loading
  • Multiple WordPress themes and more.

WooCommerce

How can we miss WooCommerce among the list of popular WordPress plugins? An e-commerce plugin enables you to sell anything on the web simply. 

The plugin has an abundance of themes, easy customization options, and much more. Therefore, it stands unique among the list of WordPress plugins. 

Wondering why WooCommerce is best for you? The plugin provides features such as adding product variation, extensive payment methods, etc. The developer community creates extensions to make online selling as smooth as possible.

WPForms

WPForms is a fantastic plugin that allows people to create popular forms with simple and easy steps. The form is created by using a simple interface of drag-and-drop. This plugin enables you to create contact, subscription, payment, survey, and other forms. It doesn’t require you to put in a great effort, as you can create forms with just a few clicks. 

Note that this plugin can integrate with all the primary payment and marketing platforms. 

WP Rocket

Every business requires quick page load times and to accomplish this caching solution is the most effective way. The WordPress repository has a Premium caching plugin called WP Rocket. It helps to escalate the loading time of a site. The plugin works with the cached copies and reduces the servers’ workload. It also aids in lowering the HTML, JavaScript, and CSS file weight through minimization. The features of the plugin include-

  • Compatible with cloud flare
  • Improve user-end browser caching
  • Quick Load images while scrolling down
  • Support WordPress Multi website
  • Incorporate caching solution along with a CDN
  • Load images on request
  • Facilitate slow loading to boost page load time. 

Elemetor

Page builder aids you in creating more complex designs as you don’t need to use coding. The most popular page builder plugin as per WordPress.org is Elementor. The plugin has quickly shot up the rank with over 1.2 million active installs. It offers a free package to build complex designs with a drag-and-drop interface. 

You must think of installing this plugin on your website. This will support you to have full control over your design.

Migrate Guru

Migrate Guru is a specifically designed, fully automated plugin for WP migration. It offers you the fastest, easiest, and most reliable method to migrate your WordPress website. The plugin runs on an external server named BlogVault’s server. You can quickly transfer large sites without any issues. 

There is a choice to save the migration setting and remove the unnecessary files during the migration process. This allows you to repeat the migration with a single click in the future. 

The plugin has the following feature:

  • No overload on the website
  • No requirement for storage space
  • Easy to use
  • Build for large websites
  • One-click migration
  • Fully automatic, replace & built-in-search

Smush 

Large images slow down the loading of websites. Therefore, it is crucial to optimize every file image to improve speed. Optimizing every image manually can be a tedious task. 

For this, you can apply the Smush plugin. It is a simple way to compress and optimize your WP website images. The plugin compresses images all over your website automatically. You will need to upload images to your WP website media folder. 

The plugin provides no interruption in your workflow and improves website performance.

Conclusion

A WordPress plugin helps you to quickly and smoothly run your website. It improves user experience and supports websites to reach a wider audience. 

No need to get confused about which plugin is best for your website. We have mentioned 8 of the pre-eminent WP plugins of all time. These plugins are accessible in free as well as paid forms.

Author’s Bio

Jinny Sarah Jacob is a Sr. Technical content writer at 24×7 WP Support, a leading WordPress development company that supports WordPress themes, plugins, and errors. She is a passionate technology geek and loves to write blogs on marketing, technology, B2B, big data/analytics, business strategizing, etc.

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Increase Traffic with Comments

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We all want to read comments, especially if these comments praise us or show that many people value our posts on our blog. Therefore, those valuable comments you can have on your blog can generate a lot of qualified visitors in your blog traffic.

Your website, more significantly, your blog posts can generate traffic. if you can improve the search traffic, you have the help of the things below.

Learn ways – How to Increase Blog Traffic with Comments

  • Ask or Request Open-Ended Questions

Open-ended questions tend to prompt a lot of engagement that includes comments. However, it only means that when you allow the recipients to express themselves, they will provide you with complete and meaningful answers.

One of the main reasons there are a lot of blog posts that are not generating loads of traffic with comments is because the questions they have are close-ended. These close-ended questions can only be answered by a yes or a no or with a direct answer that does not leave anything else that will run for longer and more comments.

  • Write A Post On the Top List

If you wish to improve your search traffic and generate powerful comments about the user experience on your blog posts, you should consider writing a post that falls on the top list. Unfortunately, many people struggle to gain online transactions from when they first opened their blog until they have discovered the importance of having a content marketing strategy.

To gain comments, you should add keywords wherein people are searching for the headline that you have. It would be best if you did not try to sound like an English professor to have one. The things that you need to do are to make your headline appear relevant for it to attract attention, comments as well as a load of traffic.

  • Do Some Influencer and Expert Name Dropping

Name-dropping is a term that refers to the practice of attributing names of famous experts as well as bloggers to your content. Using this strategy, your blog posts can generate a lot of comments that would, later on, create loads of traffic for your website.

Generating comments for each blog post is one of the best ways to get a lot of traffic to your website. This way, you can make your content more valuable because some people seem to appreciate the things you have written. Therefore, if you wish to gain loads of traffic for your website, you should first work on generating comments with the help of the tips stated above that are very easy to do for your content. This, in turn, will increase Blog Traffic.

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